Yoga for Strength

I enjoyed leading a workshop on yoga for strength yesterday. Now, when we Northern Hemisphere endurance athletes are in the base period, is the time to amp up your yoga practice. (When your training is less intense, your yoga can be more so: keep them in inverse proportion to maintain balance.)

We started and ended the two-hour practice nice and mellow. In between, we played with balance and momentum, rolling into and out of mountain pose; moved through some gradually intensifying sun salutations; played with Warrior III, Chair, and Crane; and worked many varieties of plank poses along with the table-based core moves you can find in the Quick Fix episode of my podcast. Much of what we did will appear in The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga, to be released this summer.
Where do yoga and strength training coincide? You can use yoga as a dynamic warmup before lifting; you can bring asana alignment to your squats and lunges (knees and toes agree, click back to mountain pose in your pelvis and torso); you can draw on yoga’s many wonderful core strengtheners to avoid the monotony of gym crunches.
My husband, Wes, was interested to know what core moves we did. “I want a new core routine,” he proclaimed. It struck me that routine is a problematic word there: better to avoid routine and keep your muscles challenged and guessing. Yoga is a great way to add moves to your repertory, so that you can break out of a sense of routine and instead enjoy playing with ways to increase your core strength. Better still, approaching the moves mindfully sharpens your focus and keeps you safe.