Hatha yoga is all about balance. It is the practice of seeking balance between two dimensions.
The dance of balancing opposites. The balance of humanity and of individuality. The symmetry of right and left. The game of hard and soft, effort and ease. The essence of masculine and feminine, sun, moon, up, down - you get the picture.
This practice is titled "Yoga For Weight Loss" but really it is yoga to balance the body and mind. A practice to build strength in the body, yes, but also a quest for harmony and equanimity.
To strengthen and to lengthen means to build and to grow. Therefore, when I think about this yoga practice, it is more than just a one-time-test-it-out shape-shift yoga pose event. It is about practice. The return to the mat - to keep building strength.
Cue: Return of the Mack
We do this practice to tone the body, to become stronger and to balance the building of muscles and of integrity with a focus on the spine. We work to create a 100% unique full body experience. And we create space.
This practice begins with a strong focus on the core. In order to build strength with the support of the earth (lying on flat back) I encourage you to lengthen and find space. Lift the head, but just let it hover enough to engage the abdominal wall. There is no need to lift it any higher than that. Then, remember to find extension (length!) in the spine - all the way up through the crown of the head. Imagine that juicy piece of fruit between your chin and your chest and relax any unnecessary tension in the face, neck and shoulders. Core work should not bring on neck pain or shoulder tension. It really does not have to.
If it feels tight, or you feel pain and it is not working- ask yourself what you can do to fix it.
This can be a really great sequence for athletes too! A great counter balance to training for a physical sport! Find your center and your core to prevent injuries and set intentions to blend more stretching into warm up and recovery time. It is important!
Return to the practice to see what gives. Stay curious. Experience the strength building and allow the practice to evolve. Keep asking yourself how you can fix it and where can you lengthen to create space. It's a fun journey we are on- lets rock it out.