Don’t fancy lifting weights at the gym? Tone your upper arms with this 10 minute yoga arm workout, featuring the best exercises to target your arm muscles, chest and shoulders…

Looking to tone and strengthen your arms? One way you can work it is with repeated tricep curls using a 3kg dumbell in the gym, but that gets boring. Yoga, on the other hand, conditions the entire upper body, including the arms, because it uses your own body as the weight – for anyone over 50 kilos, that’s substantial!

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This 10 minute yoga arm workout is designed to challenge your arms as well as your chest and shoulders, so expect to feel a little sore in the first few weeks. Ensure you’re warmed up, as the upper body joints are delicate things!

How to do this yoga arm workout:

Before starting this yoga arm workout, first complete a thorough warm up to get your muscles and joints prepared. Click here for our full body yoga warm up. Then, complete two rounds sun salutation to further warm up your body – click here for a basic sequence for beginners.

Once you’re fully warmed up, complete each of the exercises in this 10-minute yoga arm workout, featuring the best exercises for toning your upper arms…

10 minute yoga arm workout

  • (Warm-up)
  • (Sun salutation)
  • Extended mountain pose – Hold five breaths on each side
  • Eagle pose – Hold six to 10 breaths on each side
  • Downward dog with arm holding opposite leg – Hold five breaths on each side
  • Plank to push up – repeat five times
  • Upward-facing dog – Hold five breaths
  • Downward-facing dog – Hold five breaths. Repeat poses four, five and six as a sequence three times, leaving out the pauses
  • Camel pose – Hold five to 10 breaths
  • Child’s pose – Hold five breaths to front and each side
  • Savasana

Below, we’ve included detailed instructions and handy images for each of the yoga arm exercises in this 10 minute workout…

10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Extended mountain pose, stretching to side

Urdhva Hastasana

Benefits: Encourages deeper breathing and deeply stretches your arms and oblique muscles.

  • Begin in the Mountain pose, centering your weight on all four corners of your feet, focusing on your breath.
  • Turn your palms outwards, inhale and lift your arms out to the side and up towards the ceiling, stopping when they’re parallel.
  • Reach up through your hands without compressing your neck. Keep your shoulders down. Take five breaths (A).
  • On an exhalation, reach both arms over to the right, feeling a stretch in the left side of your body – don’t let your torso come forwards.
  • This is a side stretch so it’s better to move a little to the side in the right way than a lot in the wrong way.
  • Take hold of your left wrist with your right hand. Take five breaths (B).
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Do the pose twice on each side.

Tip: As you stretch to the right, press your left foot into the floor, and vice versa, for a deeper stretch. You can tug a little with the holding hand but make sure your body stays facing forwards.

Eagle pose


Benefits: Stretches the backs of your arms and shoulders, and strengthens your inner and outer thighs.

  • Stand in the Mountain pose, feet slightly apart.
  • Inhale, bend your knees a little and lift your right foot up and cross your right thigh over your left thigh, bending a little further. Point your right toes down (A).
  • Exhale, bend a little further and hook your right foot over your left calf (B).
  • Balance on your left leg, pressing the four corners of your foot into the floor.
  • Inhale and stretch your arms out in front of you, bend them at right angles and cross your left arm over your right – that means the left elbow will be on top. Exhale.
  • Inhale and raise your forearms until you feel a stretch across your upper arms and back. Bring your hands together to
    face each other – they may not reach, which is fine (C).
  • Take six to 10 breaths here. On each inhalation, press your palms together and lift your elbows up a little more. On each exhalation, lower your buttocks a fraction further without letting the knees come forward; remember you are sitting on an imaginary chair. Repeat on the other side.
  • To help you balance, focus on a point directly in front of you rather than on the floor. But make sure this doesn’t lead to breath-holding. Remember to breathe.

Tip: In balancing postures, focus on distributing your weight on all four corners of the foot of your standing leg.

10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Downward-facing dog with arm holding opposite leg

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens your upper arms and shoulders along with your hamstrings, ankles and calves.

  • Kneel on all fours, your legs hip-width apart, and your hands under your shoulders.
  • Exhale and curl your toes under, straighten your arms to lift your buttocks and extend your legs, lifting your hips towards the ceiling.
  • Draw your shoulder blades back and relax your head.
  • Draw in your abdominals, pull up your thigh muscles and press your thighbones back.
  • If you can, straighten your legs – beginners or those with tight hamstrings should keep their legs bent. Point your tailbone to the ceiling (A).
  • On an inhalation, take your left hand under your body and put it on the outside edge of your right ankle, twisting your torso deeply.
  • Look under your right arm to the ceiling, facing up. Use your left hand as a lever, pulling, causing a release and stretch in your right shoulder (B).
  • Take five deep breaths, drawing the ankles towards the back of the room, keeping your thigh muscles strong. With each exhalation, twist your body further, looking up without straining your neck.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • To exit, come back to Downward dog, bend your knees and come back onto all fours.

Variation: If you can’t reach your ankle with your hand, wrap a scarf or strap around the ankle and take hold
of it with your hand.

Tip: This is a demanding pose so if you get tired, rest in Child’s pose.

10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Plank to push-up

Benefits: Increases your heart rate and warms the body. It strengthens your chest, arms and shoulders along with your core and lower back.

  • Start on all fours with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Inhale, spread your feet hip-distance apart, tuck your toes under and straighten your legs so you’re in one diagonal line from your head sloping down to your feet.
  • Exhale and tuck your chin in slightly. Keep the back of your neck long and make a line from your head to your spine (A).
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and core, drawing them back towards your spine. Keep breathing even and long – it’s tempting to hold it!
  • On an exhalation, maintaining the shape of the Plank and keeping your abdominal muscles tight, bend your arms and lower your body down (B).
  • Inhale and come back up to Plank, hold for one breath, and repeat the push-up. Complete 10. Rest for a moment and repeat.

Variation: Beginners and intermediates should keep their knees bent on the floor as they do the push-up, then straighten into Plank.

10 minute arm yoga workout exercises 10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Upward-facing dog (cobra variation)

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Benefits: Strengthens your wrists, arms and shoulders and opens your chest. Tones your buttocks and stretches your lower core, quadriceps and psoas muscle, which goes from the core to the groin.

  • You can begin this pose in push-up if you are stronger or more experienced. Beginners and early intermediates should begin lying on the floor face down, feet facing down after completing your push-up (A).
  • Inhale, keeping your head in line with your spine, press your palms into the floor and lift your torso slightly off the floor.
  • Using your hands, feet and rising body for momentum, exhale and slide your hips forwards as you roll over your toes, so the tops of your feet are resting on the floor.
  • Inhale, lifting your torso up off the floor so your chest opens and points upwards, and straighten your arms (B).
  • Keep your legs active by squeezing your upper thigh muscles together to lift your knees off the floor. Your body’s weight should rest on your feet and palms (C).
  • Roll the shoulders down and back, keeping your chest lifted. Lift your hips up towards your hands to help open your torso. Look forwards and take five long, slow breaths.
  • To exit, roll back over your toes with an exhalation, lifting your hips into Downward-facing dog pose – as in sun salutation.
10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Downward-facing dog

Adho mukha svanasana

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches your arms, especially your triceps. It also tones your shoulders, stretches your hamstrings, ankles and calves.

  • Kneel on all fours, legs hip-width apart, hands under your shoulders and fingers fanning out.
  • Exhale and curl your toes under, straighten your arms to lift your upper body and extend your legs to lift your hips up towards the ceiling.
  • Draw your shoulder blades back and relax your head.
  • Draw in your abdominals, pull up your thigh muscles, press your thighbones back and imagine your heels stretching towards the back of the room.
  • If you can, straighten your legs – beginners or those with tight hamstrings should keep their legs bent. Point your tailbone to the ceiling (A).
  • Point your heels towards the floor – don’t worry if they don’t touch, focus on lengthening your legs and lifting your tailbone.
  • Take five deep breaths, keeping your thigh muscles strong and your head relaxed.
  • Come back to all fours for a couple of breaths.
  • Repeat.
  • Repeat moves Plank to push-up, Upward-facing dog and Downward-facing dog as a sequence.

Variation: Beginners should bring their feet in towards them a little more to make it easier.

Tip: This is a tough posture, especially for beginners. Be sure to rest in Child’s pose (see below) if it feels too much.

10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Camel Ustrasana

Benefits: Deeply opens your arms, chest, shoulders and tummy muscles. Firms and lengthens your quadriceps and hip flexors.

  • Kneel upright on the mat, thighs hip-width apart, and the tops of your feet against the mat (A).
  • Inhale, lift your chest and torso. Keeping your hips lifted, stretch your right arm back behind you to rest on your right ankle. Exhale (B).
  • Inhale and do the same with the left hand. Keep looking straight ahead with your neck straight.
  • Exhale and open your chest and shoulders, lifting your sternum gently upwards.
  • Keep your neck long, chin tucked in and look forwards. Advanced practitioners can take their head back and look upwards if this doesn’t strain their neck.
  • Draw your tailbone under and your pubic bone upwards to release the stretch in your quadriceps (C).
  • Take five to 10 deep breaths, feeling the opening across your chest and hip flexors. To release, exhale into a kneeling position.
  • Rest in Child’s pose (see below).
  • Repeat.

Variation: Beginners should have their toes tucked under to elevate their heels. If this still strains your back, use two upright bricks, one on either side of your feet, to rest your hands on. If leaning is straining your back, support your lower back with both hands before stretching each arm back.

10 minute arm yoga workout exercises

Child’s pose


Benefits: This is the ‘arms active’ version of this pose, which stretches your biceps, forearms and triceps and your entire side body.

  • Kneel with your knees apart, legs tucked under, pelvis resting on your shins and the tops of your feet on the floor. Inhale.
  • Exhale and bring your arms out in front of you with your palms facing down. As you walk your arms out, your torso comes forward so it drapes between your thighs. Keep your head in line with your spine.
  • Relax your head and neck and feel your shoulders sink to the floor (A).
  • Keep your arms active by pressing your fingertips into the floor and feeling the stretch in your entire arm. Take five breaths here.
  • Now move both arms out to the right and drape your torso over your right bent knee. Feel the stretch in your left side and keep your arms active and working. Take five deep breaths (B).Repeat on the left side (C).
  • During this posture, try to increase the stretch by a fraction on each exhalation.

Tip: If your belly or bust is in the way, or if you want a deeper hip opening, widen your knees further apart, keeping your big toes touching behind you.


Lay comfortably on your back with any cushions or coverings you need. Hands by your side, palms up, then simply relax and focus on your breathing for 5-10 minutes.

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