It is a huge misconception that Yoga Doesn't Help You Build Strength. I know you have all thought this one time or the other, and that flexibility is the only aspect of fitness you may be able to gain by Yoga. And this is very off-putting to many people.
Do read my last post on why you don't have to be flexible to start Yoga here
I have gained ALL my strength simply through regular Yoga Practice. I don't run, lift weights, cycle or play any other sport. And I haven't ever since I started Yoga 7 Years ago. Even when I did swim or play golf, I didn't have much strength at all. I had an okay level of stamina but that's about it!
I feel my strongest and healthiest right now. Yoga helps build lean muscle, which is still muscle! If I can do a forearm stand now, it is only because of the strength I have been able to build over the years. If you've visited any famous Instagram Yogi's page, you will definitely see a handstand in there some where and many other variations of arm balancing poses that all will have one thing in common : STRENGTH
These poses always look aesthetically pleasing and I always get asked how to do many of these arm balancing poses, so why do people not think Strength is a criteria to try them?
I assure you, if you do try some of these poses yourself, you will see that they are harder to do than you might first think!
I believe that Yoga is one form of physical fitness that is whole rounded. We often don't know much about the make-up of our bodies before we start practicing any fitness routine, and I was much the same. Within my first hour of class, I realised that strength is not only something to develop in the core, the arms and the legs, but there are many other muscles that we are not aware of.
There is more to strength than we know, why do many of us experience back pain, stiff back, rounder shoulders etc? It is because these muscles of the back are almost never receive any attention. We cannot physically see any of these muscles, like we can with our arms and legs, but it is so important to have a healthy, strong back to carry any level of fitness you have, forward.
Many of my own friends, who are swimmers, runners, tennis players, football players, suffer from an extremely weak back! When I started college, just after I finished my Teacher Training Course, and met all these very seemingly fit people, athletes even, I was surprised to see how little strength their back muscles possessed! It was eye-opening to me to also see how little they knew about how to strengthen their back!
This is when I began appreciating Yoga more, I could appreciate the strength and knowledge I had gained by simply practicing and being more mindful. I hadn't realised the health of my back until I saw many people struggle to sit up right in class, complain about the seating posture until I noticed I didn't suffer from these issues.
Even with years of practice, there are muscles I'm still discovering, and finding new ways to strengthen them. This summer, I have focused mainly on strength in my core, arms, shoulders and lower back. I've also seen how just a few months of Yoga has allowed me to do many new poses I never thought were possible!
Yes, flexibility is something we Gain through Yoga, but so is Strength!
Here are some of the arm balancing poses I can do now, that I never thought possible before!
Checkout more poses on my Instagram page to see some arm balancing practices here!
Stay Safe, Stay Aware!