Even Michelle Obama is a little over all the hype surrounding her supertoned arms, as evidenced by the fact that she recently appeared on national TV wearing a long-sleeved top and told the interviewer “See — I covered up today!”
Her sculpted shoulders and arms nearly surpassed coverage of the economy last week, or at least it seemed that way. But for all the ridiculousness of the media putting The First Biceps on magazine covers, the real question remains:
“How do I get my arms to look like that?”… Because, honestly, being able to rock that little black dress WITHOUT the shawl is a wonderful feeling.
Yoga can firm and lean the arms and shoulders, so there’s more definition instead of flab, and stillness where only flapping used to be. As you approach the warmer months, tank tops will become something you can flaunt instead of fear.
Practice these next 4 moves as part of your regular yoga practice, and whether you’re a guy or a gal, you too will have to wear coverage just to stop the public from fawning all over your amazing arms.
DOWN DOG SPLITS
Come into Downward-facing Dog. As in all arm-balances, keep your middle fingers and wrist creases pointing forward, and really ground all 10 fingertips into the floor. This will fire your arm muscles more effectively and maintain joint safety as you work the arms. Extend long through the fingers and root your shoulders onto the back. Lift the right leg high and turn the toes, leg and hips down to square.
Hold for 5-10 breaths.
From Dog Splits, sweep your right knee into your chest. Bring shoulders over wrists and press down into the hands as you round through your back and hips to get your knee higher.
Hold for 3-5 breaths or move from Down Dog Splits (inhale) to Core Plank (Exhale) 3-5 times.
From Core Plank, roll to the outer edge of your left foot (pinkie-toe side), lift your right arm into the sky and as you slightly bend your bottom elbow, step your lifted right leg over behind you with a bent leg. Match your left leg to it, and lifting your hips, roll your heart to the sky, top arm sweeps over your ear.
Hold for 3-5 breaths, then return to Dog Pose.
BEFORE YOU MOVE TO DOWN DOG SPLITS ON THE LEFT, TRY THIS ARM-TASTIC VINYASA:
PLANK POSE PUSHUPS
From your Dog Pose, float forward to Plank Pose. Keep your lower back long as the navel lifts strongly into it. Don’t sink into your shoulders, but keep an open heart. Firm your fingertips and navel, as you lower down into Chaturanga. Maintain the elbows over wrists (not behind them) and shoulders never dip lower than the elbows.
Inhale in Chaturanga, and using your core and exhale to help lift you, press back into Plank Pose and back to Dog Pose. Beginners who are building arm strength can either lower just an inch or two towards full Chaturanga, and/or put their knees down, but still activate the abdominals, tailbone long.
Repeat 3-5 times, adding in an extra-credit 15-30 second hold in Upward-facing Dog after Chaturanga whenever you wish, then return to Dog Pose and begin sequence on the left side!
Rest in Child’s Pose for 1-2 minutes after one side, and/or your full sequence to refresh the arms.
FOR A LONGER ARM-TONING SEQUENCE, SEE MY VIDEO: YOGA FOR UPPER BODY TONING