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Strength in Yoga


There seems to be a common misperception that yoga asana (the physical practice of yoga) is all about stretching and finding your calm. However, poses can help you build strength, too.

In the practice of yoga, balance is not just about standing on one leg and creating length — it should also be sought to build strength.

While not all styles are created equal in terms of strength training, my class and approach can help you increase your muscular power.

For those prone to flexibility or who have joint instability due to other reasons, focusing on strength building during yoga can be especially important to prevent hyperextension and further injury.

Though classical yoga asana by itself may not be efficient for whole-body strength training, adding resistance and other forms of movement into your yoga regimen can bring in those missing elements.

Engage your muscles. Many people, particularly those with hypermobile bodies, tend to rely on their flexibility to maintain a posture, sitting into the pose, instead of using their muscles to support their weight. Before initiating a movement, think of your muscles as a wrap hugging your bones.

Go slow. Slow doesn’t have to mean boring! Moving slowly allows you to be mindful about your movements, which gives you time to ask your muscles to fire differently than when you flow super quickly through a sequence.

Back off. Modifying certain poses to find the muscular engagement rather than forcing yourself through something you may not have the strength for yet, this may lead to joint loading. For example, put your knees down in Plank or Forearm Plank Pose, or lift one leg at a time in Locust Pose.

Variations.  Variations are not always about making postures easier; some can make them more challenging.

Hold poses. Maintaining holds smartly and safely (e.g., holding a well-aligned Warrior III for 10 breaths) are great ways to build strength.

Repeat. While over-repetition can risk injury, doing a pose an additional one or two times mindfully can help you build endurance and strength.

The warrior postures are probably some of the most loved in yoga practices.  There is something about the steady strong stance, that inspires us to be brave, and more courageous than we ever thought we could be.  If there is something that scares you, or you don’t want to do for whatever reason, then the virabhadrasana poses are for you.

We will add to the viradhadrasana sequence the pranayama of ujjayi breath, you will truly feel the power that these 2 combined, breath and posture can give.  Ujjayi is not called the victorious breath for nothing.  Warrior poses combined with ujjayi, will make you feel invincible.

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