There are a lot of ways to approach tailor-making your home yoga practice. Today I want to focus on a really simple key idea.
Strength and Flexibility need to go hand in hand.
The picture above would be lacking if there was only one color, one texture, one type of viewed object, but it is intriguing because there are so many unknowns and so many aspects of the image that pose questions to the mind. Our bodies need this kind of attention. We can work with a variety of movements to make a balanced and interesting array of abilities with it. When I look at this picture, I am so unfamiliar with everything. I don’t even know what I am looking at. We must be open to learning new ways of looking when we view unfamiliar objects. We must be open to new ways of feeling when we experience yoga.
If you naturally want to go for the strength builders, you may not be getting enough of the flexibility work in your yoga practice. If you have a naturally bendy body and just love love love flexibility work, it is imperative that you make sure you are building strength as a part of your yoga and overall exercise habit.
People who are naturally flexible often miss the key step off building strength, which keeps their range of movement in check. Please do not abandon strength building. In fact, I recommend that those who are particularly flexible (able to hyper-extend some joints, no problem touching toes – ever) should be sure to make at least 1/3 of their physical exercise specifically strength-building and weight-bearing. It is common for flexible people who do yoga to end up with destabilized joints if they do not build adequate muscle strength.
If you naturally love the strength work and tend to skimp on the flexibility work, be sure that you work with your patience first, and just stay with the flexibility work. I would recommend making flexibility training at least 1/3 of your physical work in the week. This means doing a lot. But remember that you can let gravity teach you how to work with the lengthening of the muscles. You do not need to push into the poses with force to “get somewhere.” I have noted many people who decide this is not true end up taking longer to gain flexibility in the long run. It just isn’t worth the struggle. If you struggle you will slow your progress! The body is like quicksand… spread out the mind. The harder you try the more you get stuck. If you are struggling with flexibility, then give up and just wait in the pose. Use concentration methods (offered last week) to also help the mind with this process. It may actually be that once the mind can become more at ease without constant doing, the muscles will also become more at ease. Why not try it?
Peace to you. Have a great Thursday!
Pose of the Day: Strength – Chaturanga Dandasana; Flexibility – Open Angle (Upavistha Konasana)
Yogic Concept of the Day: It is necessary for me to spend some time working with poses that are uncomfortable to keep the muscles balanced between strength and flexibility.