Yoga hearts the gym

It’s nearly Valentines Day, and I’ve found the perfect match: yoga and the gym.

In an earlier post, I told you I have a hamstring injury. I think it might be because I supinate, (where the foot rolls out more than it should) but that’s a different post.

It’s not serious but I’ve been dealing with the dreaded ‘sit bone pain’ on and off for a while. To help with recovery, I’ve modified my yoga practice.

And I’ve been going to the gym.

I had always shied away from the gym because I thought: hey, the world is your gym! (a la Jeremy from Peep Show). Who wants to run on a machine?

(I haven’t used the running machine because I still sort of feel like that).

But the weights! Oh boy.

If anyone has overstretched their hamstring and has sit bone pain (a super common yoga injury) – let me introduce you to deadlifting. Or leg curls.

It feels amazing to use gentle weights to strengthen an overworked hamstring. Seriously.

Yes, yoga provides a full body workout – there are plenty of hamstring strengthening exercises (locust, warrior 3).

But if you have hurt yourself and need to build strength in targeted muscle groups, then get thee to a gym.

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Children vs. adults

I’m reading ‘The Tree of Yoga’ by BKS Iyengar. In it, he talks about the difference between teaching children and adults. Adults need demonstrations and constant advice. Children just do.

Children live in the present, adults live in the past and the future.

When we begin yoga, we think a lot. We are worried about the pose, worried about whether we’re doing it properly.

How can we move our mind back to the present?

The first thing is the breath. When we practice yoga well, the asana becomes an extension of our breath.

The second is bandhas. Engaging the root lock (perineum or pelvic floor), the abdominal lock and the chin lock. A good place to practice this is tadasana (mountain pose).

The third is dristhi. Your focus. Ask yourself, where are you looking in the pose? Are you looking down, at the floor? Are you looking at other people? Wherever our gaze is directed, our energy follows.