When you practice yoga you think first of your physical body and the asanas. When you think of strength, you think first of the strength of your physical body. In yoga there is something called the koshas, the layers of your body. The densest layer is your physical body, there are much more subtle layers of your energetic body that also keep your outer body healthy and strong. When you move your physical body with the asanas, you are affecting all the layers of your body from your energetic body, to your thought body, to your emotional body to your spiritual body.
There are many things that will give you strength such as hope, sleep, even having quiet time to sit and think without being interrupted. The most important source of strength you have for your body may not be what you think it is. You can practice all the challenging muscle-bound postures you want, but without your breath you will not survive for even one minute. Each of the billions of cells of your body are sustained through the fresh oxygen supplied by your breath. If your breath is deep and steady, you are nourished and strong. Staying with your breath through your yoga asana keeps your practice strong.
If you go even deeper than your breath to your energetic body, to your prana, there are 72 thousand nadis or energy channels running through your body. Imagine what the nerves of your nervous system look like running through your body, this is what the rivers of vital energy or prana look like running through your body. This prana gives you strength. Can you sense this energy moving through your body?
Asanas are tools and their purpose is to serve our body, mind and spirit. Why do we practice strengthening our bodies in yoga? So that we can have good looking muscles? So that we can be incredibly strong physically? How strong do you need to be physically? I was interviewing a yoga teacher for our continuing education course for teachers and she was speaking about wanting more from the postures and yoga. I shared with her a metaphor that came to me as I was thinking about preparing for this class. What do I need in a friend? It is not everyday that I need my closest friend to lift a car off me. However, there are many days that I need my friend to have strength of character to get me through the challenging times emotionally and mentally.
We practice strengthening postures in yoga, in my opinion, to experience strength in our physical bodies through our breath that will be translated to our energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
Revolved Abdominal Twist/Jathara Parivartanasana, Kapalabhati Breath/Skull Shining Breath, Plank Pose/Kumbhakasana, Chaturanga Dandasana/Four Limbed Staff Pose, Side Plank/Vasisthasana, Virabhadrasana two/Warrior two, Virabhadrasana one to Virabhadrasana three Warrior one to Warrior three, Goddess Victory Squat/Utkata Konasana, Downward Facing Dog to Upward Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Thread the Needle, Child’s Pose/Balasana
Props Needed: Yoga Block 🙂
Yoga with Melissa 193 Benefits of Yoga Series: Strength Photos