Strength. What does it mean to the non-athletic folks like myself? When I think of the word, I reminisce about Popeye eating his spinach or Arnold “pumping it up” barbell-style. Then I remind myself that strength is not just about bulging biceps or abs of steel. For yogis, strength means honor, a stoic disposition, and wiping ego from your physical self. Strength is built from both a body and mind connection.
Here are 8 unique tips to help find your own strength within your yoga practice
1. Find your edge.
Practice to the place where you stretch your potential. Get to know your limits in a safe, mindful way.
2. Develop body awareness.
Your body is giving you signals all the time, especially if you move into a posture and feel a twitch or pain. Observe your movements closely and adjust to achieve a smooth, safe, efficient practice.
3. Get grounded.
Find your feet, position them until you feel stable and grow roots. Strong postures grow from deep foundations.
4. Breathe to deepen.
It’s easy to forget that our breath is the strength behind every posture. Ujjayi breath allows us to make an intimate connection between breath, body and mind. When the breath is controlled, the mind follows.
5. Crunch your core.
Sounds tough, but if you engage your bandhas enough, you will ignite the muscles spanning your abdomen and mid- to low back. Strength radiates from a toned core!
6. Go beyond the practice – seriously.
It’s only a practice; find the space in your mind that takes you beyond the physical realm and into an ethereal space.
7. Remove the competition.
The truth is, there isn’t any competition. Only in one’s mind. If you’re feeling competitive in a yoga class, take your focus inward and release judgment of yourself and others.
8. Steady your mind.
In the Yoga Sutras, the asana practice is described as “the cessation of the turnings of the mind.” Meditation is the quickest way to stabilize your racing thoughts. Although some may doubt that meditation can help your yoga practice, meditation IS your yoga practice. Become a meditative, moving life force on the mat!
Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy finding your own personal strength; practice and all is coming.