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Yoga for Strength and Flexibility When You’re Not a Beginner

Archana

Posted on Apr 16, 2021 #fitness

It’s easy to find resources on yoga for strength and flexibility when you’re a beginner. They’re everywhere!

It’s just a matter of figuring out which resources are trustworthy or not. (Ahem, we’ve got you covered!)

But what about when you’re an advanced yogi? Or even intermediate? What if you’re already really flexible or strong or athletic or a dancer or a gymnast? How could yoga possibly challenge you when you can literally do almost all the things?

The amazing thing about yoga is that there’s always something new to learn!

That’s one of the reasons why I love teaching my Yoga for Strength and Flexibility class at myYogaTeacher! Because we get students of all levels and it’s my job to challenge them!

If you haven’t tried any classes with myYogaTeacher yet, sign up for your 2-week free trial here! You’ll get access to my class and many others!

In the meantime, here are some ways my co-instructor, Shelly, and I create a dynamic class for everyone from yoga newbs to the born-to-do-yoga yogis!

Start with the basics

No matter what, the simplest moves are the building blocks to bigger moves! And, as an intermediate or advanced yoga practitioner, you should always move through those simple asanas as a part of getting into deeper ones.

For example, to get into headstand, you should first move through downward facing dog or crow pose. To get into wheel pose, you should first move through bridge pose.

Conducting our class and our practice like this allows beginner yogis to experience their own level of strength and flexibility that’s perfect for them while more advanced yogis can move on to harder asanas with more intention and while staying in alignment!

Here’s a list of challenging yoga poses for strength and flexibility:

  1. Headstand - Begin in downward facing dog or crow pose.
  2. Crow pose - Begin in yogi squat.
  3. Bird of paradise - Begin in side angle pose.
  4. Wheel pose - Begin in bridge pose.
  5. King Pigeon pose - Begin in pigeon pose.
  6. Firefly pose

If you are unfamiliar with or inexperienced in these poses, I highly recommend seeking out an instructor who is via a 1:1 class or group class like mine designed to help you progress in these types of asanas!

Focus on mindset and body awareness

I’ve known extremely flexible and strong athletes, dancers, and gymnasts who can not perform many advanced yoga poses. Crazy right?

You’d think that as much as they move their bodies, stretch, strengthen and tone, that they’d be able to perform almost any yoga pose they want. But yoga isn’t just about the asanas. It’s about the mindset.

Yoga of any kind is focused on bringing awareness to the body and mind. Alignment. Breath. Focus.

Sometimes, athletes become so accustomed to their workouts and their sport that they no longer need to think about body awareness, breath, or mindset.

Yoga poses that build strength and flexibility for advanced yogis, athletes, dancers, or gymnasts require the use of muscles they may not normally use and a mental focus they may not have. These are things we particularly work on in my Yoga for Strength and Flexibility class!

The poses I mentioned above are hard. Truly. They’re no joke. And there’s even more challenging ones than those in the yoga world as well!

So there is always room for improvement in yoga, whether you’ve just started your yoga journey or have been on it for a hundred years.

Mental discipline and meditation

When you’re first starting out in yoga, you’re enthusiastic, eager...willing. Showing up on the mat is mostly fun, even if you can’t do all the poses to their fullest extent.

As you progress, the poses that were hard are easy and you move on to more difficult poses. Sometimes these challenges are more frustrating than when you were a beginner doing easy poses.

Why? Because your expectations of yourself changed.

This is a normal part of growing in your yoga practice. It’s also why there is a strong focus on mental discipline and meditation in yoga, particularly with classes on myYogaTeacher, where all the teachers are from India. The birthplace of yoga!

Continuing to build strength and flexibility when you’re already strong and flexible in yoga will truly mess with your mind if you haven’t developed a strong habit of showing up on your mat no matter what and meditating.

Meditation and mental discipline help you approach challenges in stillness and concentration. They help you accept where you are in your practice while also pushing your body to move forward.

These two things are probably the most important aspects of developing strength and flexibility in yoga.

Without them, it is much easier to give up.

No matter where you are in your practice, yoga will continue to help you be strong, toned, and flexible. If you’re unsure of how you can continue to grow in your practice because you’ve reached an advanced level, sign up for your 2-week free trial of myYogaTeacher and try some of the advanced classes there! There’s 35+ different classes to choose from every day!

Or you’re always welcome to try mine and Shelly’s class, Yoga for Strength and Flexibility! We’re more than happy to work with you to help you perform advanced asanas!

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