Did you know that practicing certain styles of yoga is an excellent way to build not only flexibility and balance, but also strength? Hatha yoga, specifically styles of Vinyasa, Power, and Ashtanga work like a functional fitness program with your own body weight. In a well-rounded yoga practice, you work your body in all planes of motion and utilize not just the large muscles, but the small ones too.
When you feel strong physically, there’s a direct correlation to how you feel emotionally and mentally as well. It’s all connected.
Let’s focus on the physical aspect and how yoga builds strength. Many of the standing postures you know and love are weight-bearing exercises, like Virabhadrasana (Warrior) I and II. By practicing them regularly, you are building strength in your glutes, thighs, and calves, as well as your bones. When you add in balancing postures where you stand on one leg or on your hands, you’re also incorporating your core stabilizer muscles. Think Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand.)
In Vinyasa classes, you generally begin with Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations), which are a flowing full body strength workout. Moving through Uttanasana/Forward Fold to Chatarangua to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana/Upward Facing Dog to Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward Facing Dog engages every muscle in your body in a balanced, integrated way.
You aren’t just getting stronger; you’re also becoming more flexible. This combination is excellent for preventing injury and also enhancing your performance for sports and everyday life.
Creating a strong stable core through yoga will protect your spine and help alleviate or prevent back pain. Strengthening your center is key for excellent posture and also helps keep your digestive system moving freely and effectively. Many poses require a balancing element and your core works directly to assist your stability. And who doesn’t love Navasana (Boat Pose) and Phalakasana (Plank Pose)?
Building physical strength will boost your confidence because you’ll feel invigorated and ready to face any challenge. Working to get stronger requires discipline or tapas and stokes your inner fire. Because everything is connected, whatever you do for your physical self directly benefits to your inner self.
Try any or all of our new classes this week for a power boost!
1. Dana Hanizeski - Core strength the Iyengar Way (FREE class)
2. Claire Petretti Marti - Pilates Yoga Fusion Express
3. Keith Allen - Yoga Fix: Healthy Backbends
4. Pradeep Teotia - Deep Like Pradeep
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