Inner strength

OUTER STRENGTH
After a busy September I’m focusing on finding my inner strength for the month of October. I’ve noticed I’ve been ignoring a few snags and tight spots in my hips, so I’m consciously working on staying out these areas and finding ways to strengthen them in my practice. The body is in perpetual healing till the day you die. Even though you may not be able to see it, it’s constantly busy mending, repairing and removing the natural byproducts of the metabolic actions in the body and external environmental toxins.

There is a common misconception in yoga and the fitness industry that flexibility means weak muscles, and inflexibility means strong muscles. Both principles crossover – you can maintain flexible, strong muscles by including equal amounts of mobility and strength work, and you can also have tight, weak muscles too which is what I’m currently working on in my right glute and sacroiliac joint.

To access your inner strength you must find your outer strength first. You’ll notice after a yoga class that has lots of standing poses, you leave your class feeling stronger, taller, and more confident. In yoga what we practice in the physical body trigger the same response in the emotional body. Outer strength naturally leads to inner strength.

FINDING STRENGTH IN YOUR PRACTICE
The muscles of the legs are the biggest muscles of the body. This sequence has lots of standing poses to get straight into these muscles. The core muscles wrap around to contain the organs of the body, support the spine and are the important structure that connect upper and lower body. Igniting these muscles will help you feel stronger and move more confidently with the 360 column you have created. Arm balances like plank and Bakasana/Crow build heat and require core activation to lift the hips into the required position.

ALIGNMENT CUES
Through this sequence look for the heat and strength in the big muscles of the body. Enjoy finding your inner strength and know that you are much stronger than you think you are:

  • Take your time with the first section of the sequence and work on keeping the back of the pelvis pressed into the ground, and the hips stable, while you warm up the core area.

  • From Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward Facing Dog to Phlakasana/Plank Pose leg curls, move slowly and use your whole core to control the movement. Lift you pelvic floor to give the core a base to work from.

  • In Utkatasana/Chair stay here for at least five breaths before you move on to the Parivrtta Utkatasana/Revolved Chair.

  • Take Balasana/Child’s Pose after the plank sequence to rest your core.

  • When you are in Anjaneyasana/Low Lunge push the floor away with your feet, lift your ribs and hip bones up, and strongly squeeze the glute of the front leg. Keep this connection as you move into the variations.

  • When you’re in half boat play around with hands forward first then both hands to the right of your right leg followed by the both to left to get your muscles ready for Bakasana/Crow and Parsva Bakasana/Side Crow.

  • In Setu Bandha Sarvangasana/Bridge bend your elbows and place your fingertips on your hip bones to get feedback on where you hips are. Try to keep the hips perfectly level in both of these poses.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru