Yoga for Fitness
Full Body Yoga Workout
Yoga, as I have mentioned previously, is not just for stretching and flexibility, but is perfectly capable of giving you a complete full body workout. Thus, if you are looking for fitness, strength and muscle tone, along with the added benefits of mental and emotional balance, yoga is an excellent solution for you.
In this article today, I will combine for you several key exercises and sets, which when put together give you a complete fitness routine. This workout will target your upper body, stomach and abs, as well as help you tone and strengthen your lower body. On the way to doing this, it will even give your important heart muscle a bit of a workout.
The techniques and exercises in this comprehensive set come of the school of Kundalini Yoga. I have found that Kundalini Yoga, because it uses so much dynamic movement, is especially good for routines geared towards fitness and dynamic strength. Don’t get me wrong, other types of yoga also use flow and movement, and will deliver quite a workout as well, but in general, Kundalini Yoga fits the needs of a full body fitness routine very well.
Your will find the exercises, poses and postures used in this Yoga for Full Body Fitness Set in the Free Online Kundalini Yoga Exercises E-book and the Free Illustrated Hatha Yoga Poses E-book. In addition, this set will make up Chapter 17 of our popular Free Online Kundalini Yoga Sets E-book. Soon it will also be a part of a even more complete yoga fitness program via the Free Online Yoga & Meditation Classes held here on Mastery of Meditation & Yoga.
Benefits of Yoga for Full Body Fitness:
I suggest visiting the exercises and sets in particular to see all the benefits and other details for these exercises, there are too many to list here. Below I will just give the highlights of what this delivers:
- Helps you achieve full body fitness and health.
- Good for the digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system, immune system and nervous system.
- Increases your level or energy and vitality.
- Helps tone your abdominal muscles, shape your stomach and gives you core strength and power.
- Helps with weight loss.
- Significantly develops full body strength and flexibility.
- Tones legs, arms, chest, shoulders, abs and buttocks.
- Helps improve health and well being.
- Helps develop sexual fitness and virility.
Yoga Exercises for Fitness Preparation:
The following two articles are important to read as they provide guidelines on how to practice yoga intelligently and safely:
Remember the golden rule is please do not overdo or over strain. Especially if you are new to yoga, please use the beginner’s version for the difficult exercises and back off if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy. For all the poses in this set illustrations have also been provided.
You will also need to learn the Breath of Fire breathing exercise, which is taught in the following video: Breath of Fire Kundalini Yoga Pranayama. This breathing exercise is a fundamental breathing technique in Kundalini Yoga and is used in conjunction with the yoga poses in the set below. If at any time you feel it is difficult to keep up with breath of fire during the exercise, please switch to long deep breathing or normal breathing instead. Breath of Fire will play an important role in helping you achieve the level of fitness you seek, by adding an important respiratory and circulatory component to the workout.
Yoga Set for Full Body Fitness:
To meet the requirements of full body fitness, this set obviously utilizes a wide range of exercises and sequences. All these are illustrated and detailed below, but I want to give you a quick summary of them here first for easy reference. To get more details, you can scroll down to the particular section or head over to the article for that particular technique or pose.
Do each exercise as per your strengths and weaknesses of your body regions. If your abs are already fit and strong, you can do more repetitions of the abdominal exercises, while if your legs are strong already you can do more Kundalini Yoga Froggies. If you are new to yoga or just getting started with your fitness program, do the beginner times for the exercises as I have detailed below.
Fitness Yoga Sequence:
- Cobra Push-ups – Upper Body Fitness
- Yoga Ab Exercises Set – Core Fitness
- Yoga Chair Pose – Lower Body Fitness
- Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose – Lower Body Fitness
- Rest & Rejuvenation
I have broken down this routine into 4 sections. First is upper body training, second is core abdominal fitness, the third is lower body strength and toning, and finally a relaxation section at the end.
Fitness Yoga Section 1: Upper Body Training:
Cobra Push-ups for Upper Body Fitness
Illustration #A Starting Position
Illustration #B Yoga Cobra Pose
Illustration #C Yoga Plank Pose
a. Instructions for practicing Cobra Push Ups:
- Start in the position as indicated by Illustration #A. Essentially this is the down position when doing simple push-ups (except toes are extended). You are lying flat on your stomach with your hands near your shoulders.
- Now come up into cobra pose and inhale deeply as you do so (Illustration #B).
- Next exhale as you bring yourself up into Plank Pose as indicated in Illustration #C.
- Then lower yourself back down to Illustration #A down as you Inhale. Finally, exhale in this down position and then repeat by coming back into Cobra pose and inhaling deeply.
Cobra Push-Ups Variation #2:
- In this variation you will essentially skip Plank Pose, or Illustration #C. So come into the pose as per Illustration #A, exhale, then come into Cobra Pose (Illustration #B) as you inhale deeply. Continue to move between these 2 positions. Even though this is a simple movement, I guarantee you will feel this in your arms and chest very soon .
Cobra Push-ups Variation #3:
- A slightly different variation to this exercise, is that when you bring your body up into Cobra, have your thighs come up off the floor as well (Upward Facing Dog Pose). The rest is the same.
b. Duration for Cobra Push-ups:
- 15 seconds – 7 minutes.
c. Benefits of Cobra Push-ups:
- Excellent yoga exercise for upper body fitness. Good for chest, arms and shoulders.
- Good for training your back and abdominal muscles as well. Essentially you enjoy all the many benefits that Cobra Pose and Plank Pose bestow.
- Good for your digestive system and nervous system.
d. Practice Tips for Cobra Push-ups:
- A smart way to build up your strength and train these important muscles is to use simple start stop tactics. Do 30 seconds, then take a break in the down position, and then start again and do 30 seconds more. Keep up this pattern, you will soon see marked improvement in your strength, muscle tone and upper body fitness.
- Since the toes are kept extended as show in the illustrations above, be careful as this can put extra pressure on your lower back.
Fitness Yoga Section 2: Core Abdominal Training:
Yoga Ab Exercises & Workout for Core Fitness
1. Yoga Single Leg Lifts:
Illustration #1: Yoga Ab Single Leg Lifts – Starting Position
Illustration #2: Yoga Ab Single Leg Lifts – Left Leg Up
Illustration #3: Yoga Ab Single Leg Lifts – Right Leg Up
For this exercise lie on your back with your palms underneath your buttocks, to support your lower back, as shown in Illustration #1. Then lift your left leg up to 90 degrees and then back down (Illustration #2). Follow that by lifting your right leg to 90 degrees and then down (Illustration #3). Repeat with left leg and continue on. You will feel your abdominal muscles working to raise each leg.
Inhale as leg goes up, exhale down.
1- 3 minutes.
2. Yoga Double Leg Lifts:
Illustration #4 – Yoga Ab Double Leg Life – Starting Position
Illustration #5 – Yoga Ab Double Leg Lifts – Ending Position
For this exercise remain on your back with your palms underneath your buttocks, to support your lower back. But now lift both legs smoothly up to 90 degree and then back down. Try to keep your knees straight and keep the motion controlled and smooth (illustration #5). This exercise work your ab muscles much harder than the single leg lifts, so be ready.
Make sure to take a break between exercises to let the abdominal muscles recover a little before moving on.
Inhale as legs goes up, exhale down.
1- 3 minutes.
3. Yoga Criss-Cross Legs:
Illustration #6 – Yoga Ab Criss Cross Legs
Illustration #7 – Yoga Ab Criss Cross Legs
Again for this exercise remain on your back with your palms underneath your buttocks, to support your lower back. Now lift both legs up about 12-18 inches off the floor and have your toes pointing forward. Now begin to criss-cross your legs at ankle level rapidly (Illustrations 6 & 7). At first one leg will be on top, and then when you cross back have the other leg be on top.
This exercise will give the side ab muscles (obleques) a workout,and is excellent for shaping your stomach region. Energy for fitness comes from your core, so when this gets tough remember all the good you are doing for yourself.
Do the Breath of Fire Breathing Exercise as you criss-cross your legs.
1- 3 minutes.
4. Yoga Piston Legs:
Illustration #8 – Yoga Ab Piston Legs
Illustration #9 – Yoga Ab Piston Legs
Remain on your back with your palms underneath your buttocks, to support your lower back. Again lift both legs up about 12-18 inches off the floor and have your toes pointing forward. Now begin to piston your legs back and forth rapidly (Illustrations 8 & 9). As one leg bends in (knee coming towards the chest), the other goes straight out and the motions reverse.
Be sure to not bicycle the legs, the legs should move parallel to the floor for this exercise. This exercise will ensure that if any parts of your stomach muscles were left out of the workout, that they get a chance to now participate . Six-pack abs here we come…
Breath out as you fire each leg out.
1- 5 minutes.
5. Add Stretch Pose or Boat Post (Optional).
The above 4 ab exercises provide a great workout to tone and develop your stomach, but if you feel ready to take it to the next level, then add Kundalini Yoga Stretch Pose to this set. If you feel really strong and would like to set the bar even higher, then add Kundalini Yoga Boat Pose to enhance this set further. You will find me demonstrating Yoga Boat Pose in the Core Abdominal Power Yoga Set Video and description also in that article.
Illustration #10 – Kundalini Yoga Stretch Pose
Fitness Yoga Section 3: Lower Body Training:
Illustrations of Yoga Chair Pose
Side View Picture of Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose
Front View Picture of Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose
Hands Position Picture of Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose
Picture of Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose Hands Close-up
Side View of Modified Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose
Front View of Modified Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose
Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose Practice Details:
a. Step-by-Step Instructions for Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose:
- Stand and place your feet shoulder width apart, with toes pointing outward.
- Lean forward till your back in parallel to the ground.
- Reach down and grasp your ankles, such that the elbows are passing from the inside of your knees.
- Keep your head up and begin Breath of Fire Breathing Exercise.
b. Duration for Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose:
- 15 Seconds – 3 minutes.
- Start slowly and build up your time steadily from there.
c. Benefits of Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose:
- Great for lower body fitness.
- Excellent yoga posture for toning your thighs and buttocks.
- Improves sexual health and builds sexual virility and vitality.
- Helps the body burn fat to promote healthy weight loss.
d. Practice Tips for Kundalini Yoga Chair Pose:
- Use the modified versions illustrated above.
- Take a break, if the legs start to burn too much and then restart the exercise again once ready.
- Be careful with your knees and only go as far down as comfortable, regardless of whether you are doing the modified posture or the full pose.
- If Breath of Fire is too much, then switch to long deep breathing or normal breathing which continuing to hold the pose.
- You can also do the modified version of chair pose by standing against a wall and working your way lower as your legs get stronger. This is the technique used in physiotherapy in general.
Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose for Fit Legs
Picture of Starting Position of Yoga Frog Pose (Eyes Closed)
Picture of Starting Position of Yoga Frog Pose (Eyes Open)
Picture of Ending Position for Yoga Frog Pose
Picture of Ending Position for Yoga Frog Pose
Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose Practice Details:
a. Step-by-Step Instructions for Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose:
- Squat on the floor on your toes, with your feet apart and your heels either touching or very close together.
- Have your knees spread out and your arms inside your knees with your finger tips touching the floor. The elbows are straight.
- Look up, you can have your eyes opened or closed. Inhale. This is the starting position for frog pose.
- Rise up now by straightening your legs. At the same time bring your head towards your knees and keep your fingers touching the floor. Your heels should move down towards the floor. Straighten your legs as much as possible. Exhale. This is the ending position for frog pose. This completes 1 repetition.
- Come back down to the starting position and repeat the cycle as many times as indicated.
b. Duration for Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose:
- Beginners, start with as many as you can do and work up to 26 froggies.
- Intermediates, work up to 54 froggies.
- Advanced, work up to 108 froggies.
- Fanatics, keep going :-).
c. Benefits of Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose:
- Shapes, tones and strengthens the legs and lower body. Specially the thighs muscles.
- Good for cardiovascular fitness and stamia. Promoting better circulation and better respiration.
- Promotes flexibility in the hamstrings and calves.
- Overall, builds one level of fitness and endurance.
- Builds sexual potency and virility.
d. Practice Tips for Kundalini Yoga Frog Pose:
- Careful with your knees. If you have bad knees, approach this exercise with caution.
- Take breaks in between if your legs are burning too much. Once they recover continue on.
- This yoga exercise will get your heart rate up, so careful not to get dizzy. If you feel breathless, light headed or faint, stop and take a break.
- Here is a secret. Doing froggies slowly is harder. Some kundalini yoga kriyas (sets) demand you go slow, but in general a brisk pace will allow you to do more. Just don’t push too hard.
- It is ok to be sore in the legs the next day. It means the muscles got a much needed workout.
- It is beneficial to stretch the hamstrings before doing frog pose.