Yoga poses for muscle strengthening

These strength building postures will help you develop stronger muscles while continuing to stretch stiff and sore muscles and joints. If the positions are too difficult, start by doing the modified version of each exercise.

​Bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana)

Begin in corpse pose. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Bring your feet close to your buttocks so that you can touch your heels with your fingers. Using your hands as supports, inhale and lift your hips as high as you can. If you feel comfortable here, bring your hands under your back and clasp your hands together. Make sure to keep your hands on the mat. Stay here for five breaths. Bring your arms back to your sides and slowly lower down, inch by inch.

If you find this too simple or easy, you can add on to the exercise. Once you have lifted your hips off the mat, raise and straighten one of your legs. Hold your leg up for a one or two breaths, or as long as you feel comfortable. Lower your leg and then your hips. With next hip lift, straighten the other leg and hold.

Benefits – Strengthens the back and thighs. Stretches the front of chest and shoulders.

Modifications—Place a block under your back to help support you.


Start on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers and straighten your arms, pulling your shoulders down from your neck. Reach one leg back, straightening your knee, and tuck your toes under. Take some weight through that foot and then straighten the other leg so you are now on your hands and feet. Make your spine straight and hips straight. Keep weight even on the insides and outsides of your hands. As you inhale, feel your legs and spine lengthen. As you exhale, relax muscles that don`t need to work so hard. Find the right amount of effort and letting go in the position, in your breath and in your mind. Stay for up to nine breaths.

Benefits – strengthens shoulders, arms, back and belly muscles. Challenges your ability to keep your body and breath calm while working hard.

Modifications – You can do this from your hands and knees, with knees further back than hips. You can also do this standing and leaning against a wall. You can sit in a chair, spine tall and arms reaching out towards a wall. Push against the wall with straight arms and with a straight spine.

Side Plank


Begin on your hands and knees and then extend your legs back into plank pose. Carefully shift your right palm toward the centre of the mat, just below your chest. Slowly shift your weight into your right hand, opening your chest to the side and lifting your left hand up toward the ceiling. Stay in this pose for five breaths.

Benefits – Strengthens the core muscles and legs. Lengthens the muscles that line the ribcage.

Modifications—Bend your top leg out in front of you to help you support yourself.

Downward facing dog


Begin on your hands and knees. Inhale, curling your toes under, lifting your knees and then lifting your hips back toward the ceiling. Focus on pressing into the floor with your hands and feet. Your heels do not need to be touching the floor. Keep your neck relaxed and your shoulder blades back and away from your ears. Stay in this pose for five breaths.

Benefits – Stretches the hands and arches of the feet. Lengthens the calf muscles.

Modifications—Begin on your hands and knees and then sit back onto your heels, toes uncurled and stretch your arms out in front of you until your forehead is touching the floor.

Baby cobra pose

Start by lying down on your belly with your arms at your sides. Bring your arms in line with your ribs and place your palms on the floor. Place your weight in the tops of your feet and lift your kneecaps off the floor. As you exhale, slowly lift your forehead and chest off the floor. Do not place any weight in your palms. Stay in this pose for five breaths. Slowly lower yourself back down.

Benefits – Strengthens the muscles of the low and mid back, the glutes. Stretches the front of the chest, throat and shoulders.

Warrior 1 pose

Begin in mountain pose. Place your hands on your hips and take a big step back with your right leg. Keep your toes pointing forward and your hips squared toward the floor. Bend your front knee until your knee is just above your front ankle. Reach your hands above your head, toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades down and away from your ears. Stay in this pose for five breaths. Repeat on your other side.

Benefits – Strengthens the arches of the feet, ankles, and thighs. Opens the chest, lungs, and the front of the body.

Modifications – Place a chair underneath your front leg for extra support.

Warrior 2 pose

Begin in warrior 1. Straighten your front leg and walk your back leg towards the back of the mat. Your back toes should be pointing to the side. Raise your arms to shoulder height and open your chest out to the side. Bend into your front knee making sure your knee is lined up above your ankle. Make sure your shoulders are stacked above your hips. Take five deep breaths in this pose. Repeat on your other side.

Benefits – Strengthens arches of the feet, ankles, and thighs. Stretches the groin and inner thigh. Opens the chest, lungs, and the front of the body.

Modifications – Similar to warrior 1, place a chair under your front leg for support.

Tree pose

Begin in mountain pose. Place your hands on your hips. Shift your weight onto your left foot. Lift and bend your right knee in front of you at hip height. Practice balancing here for a few breaths. Open your knee out to the side. Place your foot either above or below your knee. Do NOT place your foot on your knee. When you’re balanced, raise your arms above your hands. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Hold this pose for five breaths.

Benefits – Strengthens the legs. Opens the chest, broadening the front and back body.

Modifications—Keep your heel by your ankle with your toes on the ground. Keep your hands on your hips for balance support. Stand against a wall for extra support.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.