You don’t need weight training or heavy lifting to build lean muscle mass. Yoga uses your body weight for resistance to tone and define your muscles. Before we tackle the question of how to build lean muscle mass, it’s important to understand why we even need to do so in the first place.

As you get older your muscle fibers become shorter and tighter. This directly translates into more body aches and pains, decreased range of motion and reduced flexibility. Yoga for lean muscles centers on stretching exercises that restore muscle elasticity and build up on muscle strength. All of this translates into greater body awareness, improved posture, and a lean and well-toned physique.

The Best Yoga Postures For Lean Muscles

Author of K.I.S.S. Guide to Yoga, Shakta Kaur Khalsa tells us exactly how to build lean muscles with the right yoga postures. Include the following yoga poses in your regular exercise routine to boost muscle tone:

Cobra Pose

Practice the cobra pose for a long, lean back and well-toned glutes. The following step by step instructions will help you execute the pose to perfection:

  1. Lie face down on the yoga mat.
  2. Position your legs together, so that your knees are in contact with one another.
  3. Extend your arms in front of your body. Make sure that they are straight.
  4. Slowly lift your head off the mat and begin to walk your hands in towards your body. Arch your lower back simultaneously.
  5. Do not move your thighs and hips while performing steps 3 and 4. During the entire sequence your hips and thighs will retain their original positions.
  6. Now drop your shoulders and look straight in front of you. This move allows you stretch and lengthen your neck.
  7. Maintain the cobra pose for five deep breaths at least.
  8. Exit the pose by gradually lowering your chest onto the yoga mat. At this point your body should be in the same position as it was in step 1.

Triangle Pose

This simple standing pose is a regular in yoga classes for beginners. It focuses on building lean muscle mass in your legs, hips and abs.

  1. Stand on the yoga mat with your legs spread about 4 feet apart. It is best to stand lengthwise on the mat to perform the steps comfortably.
  2. Now step backwards about 3 feet with your right foot. Remember to keep your left foot in exactly the same place as it was in step 1.
  3. Turn your right foot outwards, so that your toes point towards the top end of the yoga mat.
  4. Take a deep breath and raise your arms to form a ‘T’ position with your palms facing the mat. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  5. Slowly bend your body sideways. Reach down so that your left hand touches the left foot. There is no need to worry if you are unable to touch your left foot. The aim is to extend your arms as per your comfort level.
  6. While your body is bending sideways, your right arm will be held straight up towards the ceiling. Keep the ‘T’ shape intact by keeping both arms as straight as possible.
  7. Slowly turn your face upwards to face your extended right arm.
  8. Maintain the pose for five deep breaths at least.
  9. Repeat the entire sequence with the left foot.

Warrior I Pose

This pose is the first in a series of three muscle building Warrior postures. For a challenging muscle building workout, try your hand at the Warrior II and Warrior III yoga poses. But be sure to master the Warrior I yoga pose before you expose your body to these demanding postures.

  1. Position yourself in the Mountain Pose.
  2. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Then turn both feet towards the left side.
  3. Slowly twist your upper body to face the left side also.
  4. Bend your left knee. Keep your right leg extended straight out behind you.
  5. Take a moment to ensure that your body is well-balanced.
  6. Now extend both arms up towards the ceiling. Slowly stretch your fingers. Your palms should be facing one another but maintain a small distance between them.
  7. Maintain the pose for five deep breaths at least.
  8. To exit the pose, resume step 1.
  9. Repeat the sequence with a slight variation in step 2. This time, simply turn both feet towards the right side instead of the left.

These asanas teach you how to build lean muscle mass with simple body movements. If you have prior experience with yoga you can safely attempt these poses at home. If you are a beginner, consider the option of performing them under the supervision of a qualified yoga instructor. This reduces the risk of muscle strains or injuries due to incorrect body movements.

Immerse yourself in the experience of developing a strong, lean body with yoga. Did these yoga postures make a positive difference to your muscle tone and strength? Share your experiences with the Fitness Republic Community!

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