8 Tips For Building Strength In You Yoga Practice
Building the strength to master asanas (poses) is something that is developed once the body’s stabilizer muscles become used to holding the movement, yet the length of time it takes can often be discouraging.
One of the ways that the body deals with this is to find the easiest way to do the movement. The obvious problem with this is that your body does not learn what is required to properly perform the movement and thus, your strength does not build. The best way to continue strengthening (what has worked for me) has been to do the movement in it’s proper form until your stabilizing muscles become strong enough. They learn much quicker this way.
Here are some tips that have helped build strength:
- Find your edge. Practice to the place where you stretch your potential. Get to know your limits in a safe, mindful way.
- Develop body awareness. Your body is giving you signals all the time, especially if you move into a posture and feel a twitch or pain. Observe your movements closely and adjust to achieve a smooth, safe, efficient practice.
- Get grounded. Find your feet, position them until you feel stable and grow roots. Strong postures grow from deep foundations.
- Breathe to deepen. It’s easy to forget that our breath is the strength behind every posture. Ujjayi breath allows us to make an intimate connection between breath, body and mind. When the breath is controlled, the mind follows.
- Crunch your core. Sounds tough, but if you engage your bandhas enough, you will ignite the muscles spanning your abdomen and mid- to low back. Strength radiates from a toned core!
- Go beyond the practice – seriously. It’s only a practice; find the space in your mind that takes you beyond the physical realm and into an ethereal space.
- Remove the competition. The truth is, there isn’t any competition. Only in one’s mind. If you’re feeling competitive in a yoga class, take your focus inward and release judgment of yourself and others.
- Steady your mind. In the Yoga Sutras, the asana practice is described as “the cessation of the turnings of the mind.” Meditation is the quickest way to stabilize your racing thoughts. Although some may doubt that meditation can help your yoga practice, meditation IS your yoga practice. Become a meditative, moving life force on the mat!