For about 8 years in my yoga practice I totally neglected to do any isolated strengthening work and I suffered injury as a result of it. This wasn't a conscious choice I made as I wasn't even aware that I was lacking in this department.
Was I practicing yoga poses that demanded a lot of strength? Yes! But when practicing those poses I never actually identified and isolated the specific muscles that were responsible for getting me (and keeping me) in that pose. As a result of ignoring this part of my practice my sleepy muscles stayed sleepy and my dominate muscles stayed dominate! It was like an unhealthy, co-dependant relationship really. The muscles that needed to wake up and start to get involved were perpetually staying inactive due to the muscles that were already well established and working overtime always willing and ready to jump in and save the day!
Our bodies are designed by nature to conserve energy. This means that if a muscle is already strong enough to see us complete a desired task or exercise or movement or yoga pose then the other muscles that surround it will just continue taking a vacation on the beach because it just saves energy. I am sure you can see how this leads to a huge imbalance within the body and can quickly segue to injury.
This is where our conscious and isolated strengthening work comes in! It's an absolute must if you are wanting to generate harmony within and practice preventative movement medicine! Even if you are one of those people who LOVE yin and don't do much else besides that, there comes a time in your practice when the strengthening component is incredibly relevant and fundamental to your well-being. Plus, it gives you an even deeper connection within as you begin to know thyself from a functional perspective.
Because our modern day lifestyle doesn’t require our bodies to be as strong and energetic as they were in the past, we aren’t operating at our optimal health. So it is up to you to enhance your personal capacity for strength and endurance; in turn increasing your overall health through uplifted mood & energy levels, increased muscle tone/functionality and elevated cardiovascular health.
This is why we have a variety of strength based classes on the timetable. These classes give you the opportunity to explore and identify imbalances within your muscular availability at such a specific level that you inevitably become more attuned to your needs and start to reprogram your body to move in a much more balanced way!
Now you might be thinking, 'but I am not STRONG enough to do strengthening work.!' Just think about that concept for a minute and let the nonsense of it sink in. It's like saying, 'I can't brush my teeth with whitening toothpaste because my teeth aren't white enough!' Gobbledygook right?
When we realise that we hold the power in our practice and that we have the autonomy and ability to work at a level that is appropriate for us, then literally any class is possible! It's a mindset shift (not your physical state) that creates your ability!