By Faye Martins
When you decided to become a yoga instructor, did you think you would get so many different requests? Many women and men want to gain strength without gaining size. As we know, more size is stressful on the leg joints and the heart. As a yoga instructor your mission is to help people maintain a long and healthy life.
As most lifelong yogis will explain, the original purpose of yoga training was not physical fitness or weight loss; rather, it is a spiritual discipline that uses increased connection with the physical body to achieve personal transcendence. Since the rapid proliferation of studios all over the world over the last two decades, however, yoga has undergone a modernization wherein some of the most popular forms of yoga are practiced as exercise, rather than as a spiritual practice.
The reasons why a spiritual discipline has been transformed into a mostly physical one are numerous, but it is nearly certain that yoga probably would not have become so popular if it were not for advantages of firming the body, strength building, increased flexibility and aerobic improvements. Yoga instructors soon realized that advocating a yogic lifestyle as a tool for better health and fitness would attract a variety of practitioners.
Asana practice does build strength. As beginners know, many of the poses are difficult to hold and muscles can begin to quake early on in a session. As muscles fatigue and continue to work, they undergo a process where they are broken down and then built back up during rest periods. This makes the body stronger.
Tips for Teaching Asana to Build Strength
1. Remind students to be patient. While weight training typically isolates muscle groups and allows individuals to bulk up and see results relatively quickly, asana practice builds strength via body weight lifts and holds. In other words, the weight a student lifts is his or her own, and this can take longer than a typical weight lifting routine to build strength because it is a slower approach designed to improve physical health over time.
2. Keep the flow fast so muscles will have less time to recover after a challenging pose. This will ensure that muscle groups tire quicker and thus have to work harder in yoga training.
3. As students progress in practice, instructors can adapt a series of movements by encouraging students to hold poses longer and do more repetitions. Doing more repetitions means that practitioners will work the same muscle groups harder during a single session, building more strength and endurance than they would with fewer repetitions.
4. Focus on balance, inversion and standing poses to build the most strength. Remember that a yogic series should strengthen the body in balance instead of isolating legs one day and doing arms the next, which is the standard practice of weight-lifting routines.
As a teacher, you may be asked about yoga for sciatica, headaches, and thyroid. We customize private lessons for students all the time. Yet, we could easily start a workshop that addresses building strength. If it becomes popular, you have a new or seasonal class on the schedule. Becoming a yoga instructor requires creativity, consistency, study, and a lot of practice.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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