When you're looking to give your yoga routine something a little bit different without taking away from the experience, the addition of weights can go a long way. The key is to select the right new poses because the last thing you want to do is dread having to do what would otherwise be a highly enjoyable yoga workout.
There are some fantastic weighted yoga poses just waiting for you to discover. They're perfect for moving your entire body and challenging your mind at the same time. They allow you to focus on your ability, stamina, and strength at once, without ever having to do a single burpee. Even people who don't typically like yoga will often enjoy doing the right weighted poses.
The next time you're looking to amp things up a little bit while still loving the inclusion of yoga in your day, consider adding the following poses:
• Shiva squats – This pose begins from a forward fold position in which you have slightly bent your knees. If you need additional balance and height, hold a dumbbell with both hands, centering your hands in the middle of the dumbbell, pressing it right into the floor. Then, inhale and raise one leg, extended. Exhale as you bring your raised knee behind your standing knee, which remains partly bent. Inhale and raise the leg up again and return it to the original position. Repeat this 10 to 15 times per side.
• Horse calf raises – Start at the horse pose, with your legs open wider than your shoulders. Point your toes out, planting your feet firmly on the floor. Place your hands on your hips holding a hand weight on each side. Inhale and press down onto the floor with the four corners of your feet. Then, exhale and raise your right heel off the mat, returning it to the floor and repeating it on your left side. Keep your hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes engaged as you lift your heels. Repeat 10 to 15 times per side.
• Weighted warrior two pose – Start in the warrior two pose, holding a weight in each hand. Face your shoulders and hips forward and bend your knees outward to a 90 degree angle. Keep your shoulders squared and stacked over your hips. Reach your arms out to the sides in opposite directions, keeping them held up straight at shoulder height, with only the slightest bend to your elbows so they're not locked straight. This will allow you to engage both your biceps and triceps. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.