Do you cross train ( ie do something else to supplement your yoga practice like running or going to the gym)?
In the last 8 months I have started practising Hiit ( High Intensity Interval Training) at home and at the gym where I teach on Sundays, Studio41 and found several moves to be very helpful in building range of movement and strength to supplement my yoga practice.
Hiit is a recent form of exercise that condenses high intensity exercise in short intervals followed by a slightly longer rest in between sets , you can do bodyweight Hiit or use weights and other props such as kettle bells and Bulgarian bags.
Here are the top 5 moves I would recommend practicing regularly to support your yoga practice , start with intervals or 20 seconds exercise / 15 seconds rest and do the full circuit 5 times. You can get apps on your phone to set up intervals or count your reps.
Squats and chair pose
Squats are great for developing glutes and legs strenght, make sure you ground through your heels ( use a wedge or a thin block under them) when you lift and squeeze your buttocks thrusting your pelvis forward. When you feel comfortable challenge yourself to increase your reps.
Chair pose is a great pose to test your strenght , also known as Fierce pose.
Ground through the heels keep your knees behind your toes , bend as far as comfortable and lenghten your spine tucking the tailbone under to engage the lower abs, the arms can go up or the nads can be on your hips . hold for 5 breathts
Lunging and the warriors
Stand at the front of the mat then step one leg back at a time, bend your back knee and keep your spine as straight as you can, lift the opposite arm from the front leg up to help you with balance, to switch make sure you push back up through the heel of the front leg.
Warrior 2 here is a great example of a standing pose that will benefit from regular lunging, extended side angle and warrior one are also good examples. Try and hold your poses for 5 breaths focusing on keeping your breath smooth and long.
Box pressups and chatturanga
Start in childs pose stretching the arms out, as you inhale shift the weight forward bringing your shoulders over your wrists ,keep your knees on the ground and bend your elbows to press slowly down to the ground. keeping your elbows as close as you can to your body, push back to child's pose as you exhale.
This drill is really effective in building upper body strenght, do as many reps as you can.
With time you will be able to start stretching the spine out and lifting the knees off the mat to a hovering press-up , also knows as Chatturanga.
Burpees and transitions
Burpees are great for all over body strenght , they are challenging !
Start at the front of the mat bend forward , ground your hands and step back with one foot then the other
Step the other foot back to plank and lower to the floor then simply reverse the action.
Press back up to plank , step forward one foot at a time then up to standing, repeat several times alternating leg for the first step back
This is a great drill for building confidence to transition from down dog to standing poses at the top of the mat.
Bear twist wild thing / plank to wheel
This is one of my favourite as it works the shoulders in a very different way from the typical pressup. The first few rounds you may find it difficult to rotate the shoulders so please take care when trying this at first.
Start on all fours facing the log side of your mat , lift your right hand off the mat and begin rotating up and to the left untill you end up on the soles of your feet facing up with both hands on the floor and pushing up with your pelvis squeezing your buttocks.
This drill has really improved my wheel pose , a deep back bend that needs great shoulder strenght and control.
I hope these few drills will inspire you to explore organic movements with your body and remember , it takes time but with practice everything gets easier.
Keep practicing !
Namaste - Marzia x