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I know more often that not we come to our yoga mat to relax and let go of tension, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all soft and floaty. We can use the practice to build strength whilst we find more flexibility and a sense of calm.
Here are 3 ways to build strength with yoga and I have also added examples so that you can put these theories to the test and see the strength for yourself.
There are typically two ways we can stretch; actively and passively. For strength I want you to be active in your stretches – this means there is engagement and muscular activation you aren’t just hanging out in the stretch.
Find your the depth of your flexibility and then engage your muscles to pull back.
For example in your low lunge don’t drop so low, instead pull yourself back by drawing naval to spine and pushing more into your front foot.
I think I am going to be stating the obvious here but simply think about slowing down. Don’t rush your practice, don’t flow too fast and take your time with transitions. The bonus of this too is that you make time to correct your alignment and avoid bad habits creeping in / injury.
Think about moving with your breath [a nice slow steady stable breath] and on top of that when you come to each new post hold it until you feel that heat build in the body, you will feel the strength.
For example when stepping forward from downward dog slowly lift your foot forward using the strength from the centre of the body, in your vinyasa lower nice and slow to build that shoulder strength and in your warriors or your balances try and find 5 big breaths.
…is the spice of life right? So don’t do the same flow week in week out, you want your practice to keep you on your toes. If you do the same sequences / transitions your body will get lazy, it will start cutting corners you won’t be getting a well rounded challenging full body practice.
Each time you come to the mat you want to try a little something new, transition in a different way or simply tweak your positioning in space. This will ensure you keep small postural supportive muscles alert, awake and engaged.
For example change the way you move through chaturanga, add a push-up or change the tempo and in triangle try lifting your front toes and balancing the weight down through your front heel.
Give these 3 a go, then remember to come back and let me know how it feels 🥳
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