4 ideas that help yoga become part of your strength workout

yoga-benefits-strength-and-endurance-604x272Keep your training program in shape with a powerful but balancing yoga practice. There are a number of movements and postures that are great for the big muscle groups like hips and shoulders, but remember: there are countless of smaller muscle groups and connective layers that will benefit from mindful sequencing! Here are some suggestions for blending yoga in with your workout:

1. Mix it up. There are MANY styles of teachers and classes. Some focus more on core strength, some more on flexibility, some create a space to try new things… Getting everything you need can be done through a variety of yoga practices in classes like Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Prana Yoga, Morning Hatha, True Beginners Yoga, Relaxation Yoga, yoga for hips like our Love My Psoas series, and Kripalu Yoga. You can also request private yoga sessions with a number of teachers.

2. Practice several days per week. One yoga class a week is a pretty normal thing for people who have a busy schedule and do other things for their fitness. But you can make yoga part of your daily routine by building your workout schedule around yoga like you would with any other regular activity that you're committing to. This could mean spending more time on your home practice. Get some advice from a teacher who can help you with suggestions for a home practice.

3. Regularly perform strengthening poses. If you've taken an Ashtanga-based flow class or one that uses Vinyasa or Sun Salutations (like my Fusion Flow), you'll know how much effort goes into some of the standing and core-strengthening poses. Because strength plus flexibility equals stability, it's important that the more flexible a joint is, the more you should work on strengthening the surrounding muscles to avoid injury by stabilizing the joint system. Below is a list of strengthening poses. If you're wondering what they are, come to my class! Or drop me an email: [email protected]

4. Offset your strengthening practice with fluidity and relaxation. In yogic tradition, a practice based on strength is built on urge or willfulness, or raja energy. While very productive, and powerful, that energy is not sustainable. It's also a great setup for injury. We need to include fluidity and relaxation in our yoga practice. Embrace those days when you're just not feeling "strong" as the body telling you what it needs. Include breath work, warming up, stretching, and relaxation into every yoga practice, no matter your intention.

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