Yoga is all about balance. It is often known for its bendy, stretchy, flexible aspects, however, it’s fierce, powerful, vigorous side of strength is just as important. There is a physical and mental manifestation of balance that occurs between flexibility and strength in yoga.
There’s no question that a regular yoga practice strengthens, conditions, and tones the body. There is a balanced combination of strength and flexibility that coincides with connecting the body with the mind. Each yoga pose has a purpose that stimulates the body energetically along with increasing muscle endurance by either holding a pose for a period of time or flowing through a movement pattern.
STRENGTH & MENTAL DEVELOPMENT
Yoga connects physical movement with mental awareness. You don’t need a formal meditation practice to experience yoga’s mental benefits. The connection happens simultaneously when you set an intention and pay attention to all that is occurring within your body.
Physical Strength: Practicing yoga consistently will build strength in all major muscle groups along with developing stability in the smaller muscles for support.
Mental Strength: Utilizing your breath clears the mind so you can focus on your intention while connecting to the movement task.
Here are a few cognitive effects that occur from a consistent yoga practice:
- Learning the power of perseverance
- Exploring a willingness to try something new
- Accepting failure followed by success
- Learning to control the mind’s activity
The strength and mental development connection is what makes yoga so powerful.
TOTAL GYM & YOGA RELATIONSHIP
Yoga movements are categorized as bodyweight training, in which you use your body as resistance. The Total Gym equipment also uses your bodyweight along with the assistance or resistance of gravity to move in all ranges of motion.
Performing specific exercises on the Total Gym that simulate yoga movements will help you improve your balance, stamina, and achieve strength-based poses to enhance your yoga practice.
When utilizing the Total Gym to strengthen and condition your body for yoga, vary your tempo to get the most out of the exercises.
- The exercises can move slowly or be held for a sustained period of time to develop stamina and fatigue the muscles.
- Or, perform the exercises dynamically (faster paced) with high reps to add an element of cardio while conditioning muscular endurance, strength, and power.
Incorporating a variety of strength skills and yoga poses into your training will ultimately condition you to be stronger and healthier for life.
6 Exercises for Yoga Strength
This workout contains 6 Total Gym exercises that can help you build strength for a stronger yoga practice.
- Perform the following strength exercises in the following sequence.
- Perform each exercise for 10-15 reps on each side.
- Adjust the incline based on your strength needs.
- Incorporate these exercises often to develop a consistent routine.
Pulsing Squats + Single Leg + figure 4
- High incline & squat stand attached. Perform low pulsing squats for a set period of time. Extend one leg and continue to pulse. Option to place one leg in a figure 4 stretch. Perform single leg version on both sides.
- Yoga Pose: chair pose, single leg poses
- Strengthens: leg & hip strength, torso mobility, balance
Reverse Lunge + Twist
- Yoga Pose: crescent pose & twisting poses
- Strengthens: core balance, ankle stability, leg & hip strength
Incline Plank Walks
- Hold a plank position facing the tower with glide board open. Walk hands up the glide board, then back to the starting position while maintaining the plank.
- Yoga Pose: Up Dog, Down Dog, Planks, Push-ups
- Strengthens: wrist & core strength
Back Extensions + Bowl
- Lye in a prone position facing the tower with the feet resting on the bottom rails and hands on forehead. Extend torso upward to the center (1), then rotate to each side (2-3). Repeat this pattern. Option to finish exercise with an inclined bow pose by grabbing the ankles and kicking into the hands while lifting the torso into extension.
- Yoga Pose: bow, back bends & inversions
- Strengthens: upper, middle, lower back, glutes, hamstrings
Kneeling Press Backs
- Place both cables in each hand, kneel on glide board facing tower. Keep spine long as the arms press straight back behind hips. Hold, then slowly return to repeat.
- Yoga Pose: balance poses, arm balances, reverse plank
- Strengthens: core balance, core strength & stabilization, shoulder/ tricep strength
Opposition Arm & Leg
- Hold one cable to assume a quadruped position facing the tower. Extend the opposite leg. Keep the spine level and elongated as you slowly bring the elbow toward the opposite knee, then extend to repeat.
- Yoga Pose: balance poses, corrects strength imbalances, spinal alignment
- Strengthens: core balance, stability & strength, oppositional strength patterns
Check out the video to see how these strength exercises are performed on your Total Gym.
Strength development shares a common connection with yoga. It’s the desire to be strong (mentally and physically) within ourselves so that we make a difference in this life.
Practice with strength, love, & peace,