How to incorporate strength training into your yoga practice

I was going to the gym for physical health. At that time, I did not really know what I was doing, with my body awareness being nowhere near as it is today.

After I started practicing yoga regularly, I went to the gym for pure enjoyment. After a couple of years, I participated in my firstĀ 30-day yoga challenge, where I attempted to do yoga for 30 consecutive days. During this period, I gave up going to the gym in order to concentrate all my energy on my yoga practice.

My body felt stronger, leaner, and more flexible than it had ever been before. I quit going to the gym and did a teacher training in yoga. Then, for the next 3 to 4 years, I only practiced yoga.

Combine Yoga and Strength Training

Not too long ago, a yogi who went to the gym received a lot of criticism. As I introduced strength training to my fitness regimen, I almost felt a sense of shame, as if I were taking an illegal supplement in order to improve my asana. It did enhance my practice.

Imagine that a vinyasa practice, which is a weight-bearing exercise, requires (and cultivates) a great deal of strength in the front body. Table Top, Plank Pose, Chaturanga Dandasana, and Downward Dog are all poses that activate the same muscle groups. These include pectorals (chest), anterior deltoids (deltoids), triceps, and serratus anterior.

These are pushing postures. Pulling is the movement that complements or balances moving.

Yoga does not have any pulling movements. In Padangusthasana, I would argue that the fingers are pulling the big toes, but pulling in yoga is rare.

Strength or weight training is, therefore, important for creating muscular balance.

Asana practice can leave some muscle groups weak. The chest and front of the shoulders, for example, can be strong. However, the upper back and back of the shoulders are relatively weak.

Hamstrings are usually lengthened in asana but rarely strengthened. This group of muscles crosses the hip and the knee and is important for keeping the joints stable and healthy.

Pulling Movements

Specific shoulder pulling movements will activate rhomboids and trapezius as well as posterior deltoids and lats.

Pull-ups and active hanging on an overhead bar are intermediate exercises of pulling.

The counter-balancing of rock climbing is a growing trend in the yoga world. Asana is a form of yoga that pushes away from the ground, while rock climbing pulls up and toward the rock face.

You will feel lighter and more in control when you perform arm balances or inversions. This is because your muscles will be more integrated.

Working the Hamstrings

The hamstrings in the lower body are used for pulling movements. The hamstrings are activated by lunge poses like Crescent Lunge or Warrior II in yoga, but not to the same extent as when pulling.

You can also use the hamstrings more effectively by doing supine backbends such as Bridge pose and Wheel pose. (Pressing through your heels and bringing them energetically towards the buttocks). Strengthen your lower body with:

The following is a great way to strengthen your hamstrings without the need for a gym. You will only require two yoga blocks.

Lay on your back with your legs completely vertical. Your big toes should be touching the skirting.

Place the blocks in between your shins and the wall.

While pressing your shins against the blocks to prevent them from falling, push your heels firmly into the ground, pulling them energetically towards the back.

The shins pushing away will also help maintain the length of the spine when bending backward as your hamstrings get stronger.

Strength training can be incorporated into yoga to achieve a variety of benefits. These include joint stability and recovery from injury. Strength training can create a muscular balance when you focus on muscles that are often missed by even the best asana practices.

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