Want to fire up your yoga practice? Here’s how to do yoga with resistance bands. Build your strength with this complete list of yoga poses with bands.
Resistance bands can be added to any work-out. They’re an easy way to incorporate a challenge into your exercises, and you can use them in many different ways.
Resistance bands make your muscles work just that little bit harder, so you get more work-out for your time spent. And resistance bands are portable – pop them in your yoga bag, and you’re good to go.
For yoga, resistance bands are great if:
You want to increase your strength without compromising your joints.
You are recovering from an injury*
You want to slow down your movements and increase the mindfulness of your practice
You want to increase your stability
You want to raise your awareness of where your body is in space
*If you are recovering from an injury, consult your physiotherapist or doctor before taking on new exercises.
Yoga poses to practice with resistance bands:
High Crescent lunge
When in high lunge, wrap a resistance band around your wrists. With your arms up high, gently pull your hands apart. Use gentle pulses, keeping the band taut. Great for upper body strength! Start with 10-15 pulses.
You can keep your legs working too. Bend and straighten your legs to go into and out of a squat, while working your arms. Multitasking!
Wrap the resistance band around your ankles. Raise one leg out to the side for 10 pulses. Repeat with the other leg. Very good for your glutes.
To give your hamstrings a work-out too, bring the band up to rest around the middle of your calves. Staying in a downward dog pose, gently pulse one leg up and behind 10 times. Repeat with the other leg.
Place the resistance band around your thighs. It should be just above your knees. Lie down on your back. Bend your knees. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart. Raise your buttocks and retain bridge pose while gently pulsing your knees outwards.
Keep your weight on your heels. Your feet should be flat on the mat or floor. Move slowly and work deep. You’ll feel it along the backs of your legs and in your glutes. Aim for 20 reps.
Remember to keep the tension in the resistance band throughout the exercise.
Dead Bug pose
Put the resistance band around the bottoms of your feet. Put your arms either straight up in the air, or flat on your mat. Alternate your legs in cycling, straightening one leg out while bringing the knee of the other leg towards your chest.
This exercise can work your core, too, so make sure your lower back is always on the ground or mat.
Begin with 10 reps, working up to 20.
Stretch your arms out in front of you with the resistance band around your wrists. Pull your arms apart to the side gently, while keeping your back straight. The muscles in your back will thank you for this one!
Begin with 10 reps and work up to 15-20.
Beginning in a tabletop pose, wrap the resistance band around the bottoms of your feet. Keeping your upper body straight, slowly lift one leg. Hold the position and then bend your knee to repeat. Do this slowly, 10 times.
When your first side tires, switch legs.
Banded donkey kicks work your core as well as your legs. Keeping your core muscles tight during this exercise will increase the benefits to your core.
In Warrior 1 pose, make sure both feet face forward as well as your hips. Hold the resistance band around the palms of both hands. Bring the hand on the same side as the front leg to your chest so that the palm is flat.
Now extend the other arm out straight so that it is parallel to your back leg, and the band is taut. Aim for 10 reps to start.
Make sure your upper body stays straight during this exercise, and you’ll be giving your triceps a great work-out!
Start in Warrior 2 pose, with both feet flat on the mat or floor. Ensure your back foot is perpendicular to your front foot.
Put the resistance band underneath your back foot and hold the other end with your back hand. Keep your front arm straight out in front of you, while pulling up on the band. Your elbow should come up into a 90-degree angle. Extend your back arm back down, and repeat.
Do 10 reps, then switch sides. This exercise is good for working your upper arms.
A note on hypermobility and how resistance bands can help:
If you are very flexible, you may be interested to know that resistance bands are actually one of the best ways you can enjoy the stretch while challenging your strength.
Resistance bands are great for people who are hypermobile because you can work against the tension of the bands.
The bands also are excellent for slowing down movement and allowing you to be mindful in your poses while still giving your muscles a work-out.
You can read more about hypermobility and how to use resistance bands to build awareness and avoid injury here. Enjoy your yoga with resistance bands!
By Sarah Peterson
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