You’re familiar with Aesop’s fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare, right? The tortoise moves slowly and steadily and doesn’t stop. The hare bursts out in front with reckless abandon, certain to win against the plodding beast. Yet, in the end, the tortoise’s persistence and refusal to give up, despite a near certain defeat, wins the race. He personifies the traits of stability and strength. These qualities are vital to a sustainable, long-term yoga practice.
In your yoga practice and in your life, you’ve probably embodied both creatures, jumping into new postures or endeavors without much thought, just like the swift-footed rabbit. And embracing life full-speed ahead without overthinking it is important. But it can lead to carelessness and injuries if you aren’t mindful.
Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam means the posture should be steady and comfortable. Steadiness is a quality of strength and grounded energy. Working on developing this in your yoga practice will aid you in staying centered and stable. Flexibility is important, but it needs to be partnered with stable joints to protect your hips, knees, shoulders, and wrists from injury. Also, building strength through your core is vital to maintaining spinal health. In order to feel comfortable in a posture, you need both strength and mobility.
Focusing on grounding your energy in standing asanas will help you feel more centered and powerful. Taking the time to build a solid foundation from the feet up will enable you to have the strength and steadiness to make it to the finish line. Work toward a body and mind that’s both flexible and strong, inside and out. Slow and steady AND fast and agile––it’s a winning combination. Employing both types of work is key to truly be strong and stable on the mat and off.
This week we bring you four classes that emphasize building strength, as well as focusing on understanding key foundational principles for a healthy and sustainable practice. So, tap into your inner tortoise and embrace your persistent, grounded nature.
1. Ellen Kaye - But 1st, Stability
2. Shy Sayar - How to Protect Your Wrists
3. Ben Davis - Fitness 'n' Yoga: Work and Flow
4. Kylie Larson - Live Limitless: Vasisthasana
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