cultivating strength through yoga: “strength doesn’t come from what you can do. it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”
Great quote to reflect on as you take time to practice yoga today, in whatever way this is…whether restorative, active, both, meditative, self-reflective…
Feeling strong has different components, and yoga has different ways to cultivate endurance. People sometimes equate pushing themselves too far with building strength, whereas this just creates strain.
“When done right, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.” source
“Beginning a yoga practice early in life – twenties, teens, and even younger will help the bones strengthen at a time when conditions are maximal” (Dr. Loren Fishman)
I spoke with someone recently who is new to yoga but not to sports. This person was surprised at how weak they felt in yoga class. There is definitely something to be said for the presence of attention, spreading awareness throughout your body, breathing with purpose, at the same time as recruiting muscular effort. You may have to wake up dormant areas and relax some overworked ones to build up your endurance.
“The deeper the alignment of your pose is, the less effort you will need. And the more you refine your alignment around center, the closer you come to true balance” (Rodney Yee)
sunrise yoga : Good morning! You did it! You woke up, got dressed, packed your yoga props and converged at this beautiful site in Jersey City. You were able to honour yourselves, and honour all the noises from the traffic, the random musician next to us and the daily drama of the mind in daily life. You started with a calm breath. You focused on learning the skills to work the knees in standing poses without overloading the joints, you gained stability. You allowed yourself to notice where you are off balance and that self-reflection is now helping you make nourishing choices off the mat the rest of the day.
By the end of the class, after our warmups and doing poses, you allowed deeper levels of relaxation through our restorative segment. By the time this photo was taken (as I watched the clock on my iphone, having left my watch home) you were in Savasana. Since we had worked the legs, this ledge worked perfectly to rest the entire back leg from knee to ankle. I folded your mats up under your heads to keep the foreheads higher than your chins. Your back softened, you sighed, you forgot where you were enough to connect with your inner core of peace. You did it this morning at sunrise yoga. See you next time
So cute! Just look at that supple spine, and how, although we know this asana takes strength from the arms, the lack of tension in the shoulders makes it seem so effortless ~ the blend of strength and flexibility, plus the calm breath
How do we, as adults, re-create this? Often we have to let go something to ‘achieve’ something else. One of the things you want to consider in plank pose is safety in the wrists.
If you are starting in downward facing dog, inhale and draw your torso forward until the arms are stacked with shoulders directly over the wrists, torso parallel to the floor.
Press your outer arms inward, firming the bases of your index fingers into the floor. Keep your shoulder blades against your back, with some expansion from the spine. Also spread your collarbones away from the sternum.
Draw your front thighs up toward the ceiling, but resist your tailbone toward the heels. Lift the base of the skull away from the back of the neck and look straight down at the floor, keeping the throat and eyes soft.
As with any Yapana® yoga therapy practice, we modify with strategic prop placement depending on who you are and what needs to be worked or relaxed. That is where a private yoga class comes in handy, as it assesses you
“yoga demands that we develop not only strength in body but in mind. The yogi knows that the physical body is not only the temple for our soul but the means by which we embark on the inward journey toward the core” ~ BKS Iyengar, Light on Life
Whether you are an athlete or a weekend warrior, or just like to keep fit, a balance is always healthy between strength and flexibility. Interested? Come take class with me – I am in Bergen County, New Jersey and offer private yoga lessons and a few public yoga classes
We tend to think of strength in terms of being tough or rigid, but the strength you cultivate in Yoga is fluid; I love this quote