Many yogis would tell you that they do not believe in the “No Pain-No Gain” paradigm. However, they believe in the milder and modern equivalent “No Strain-No Gain”.
What do I mean by that?
It is common for yoga teachers and practitioners to believe that a strenuous practice is a good thing, not realizing that strenuous and challenging are two different things.
1) A strenuous practice includes muscles and often joints strain. In a strenuous practice, you play with the stretch edge or the strength edge of various body parts. By flirting with strain, you are actually placing your body in stress mode. Excess tension is being created at the very same time you are working on helping your body. Reaching your maximum edge is not necessarily the best for every body part. Although it feels good in the moment, as time goes, yoga teachers and committed yoga practitioners develop pain or injury. Hence my saying “Strain is Delayed Pain”!
2) A challenging practice is a whole-body practice where the focus is on releasing muscles and joints instead of engaging them. As a result, your whole-body intelligence is back in the driver’s seat. It micro-manages your muscles and joints to perfection in every pose. And yes, you can release tension even when practicing a plank. And your Cobra or your Warrior One does not include neck or back compression. As a result, you are developing flexible strength instead of stiff strength. Your energy naturally flows through you in every pose.
This is the wise way to challenge yourself towards best performance with optimal safety. It is the wise way to a life-long yoga practice for both practitioners and teachers.
Interested in The Wise Way to Yoga? Check my blogs, read my June article in the Natural Awakenings Magazine, buy my book on Amazon, or come to one of my events if you can! Also, share this blog with the yogis in your life, they will thank you for it!
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