Tensing your muscles to strengthen them is a form of overdoing. It was started by the bodybuilders of the 19th century who were part of the foundation of modern fitness and modern yoga. However, as pioneers, they were not aware of the whole picture. They were not aware of the full effect of their tensing on their body. Their main focus was mind over body to bulk up which they saw as the only way to evidence their strength. Only it was one way to do it that had a side effect.
The thing is, although you DO strengthen when you tense up, you also add excess tension to your strengthening process. That is why you may always feel tense despite your yoga practice and you have an urge to constantly stretch whether you are On or Off the mat. Does this sound familiar?
The fact is that when you chose to tense up to strengthen, you are developing “stiff strength” instead of “flexible Strength” and that leads you to be addicted to stretching. It also limits you from reaching your highest strength potential. In truth, you can challenge yourself big time without tensing your muscles. Successful Olympic athletes and famous performers understand that and can perform with efficiency and grace.
To embrace a more holistic way to strengthen, you want to keep room for your muscles to release while you do a strengthening exercise. When you do it right, you suddenly feel the power of your body working as a whole.
And if you want to learn more about it, attend my next live Webinar for Teachers.
You can also listen to the recent podcasts below or buy my book The Wise Way to Yoga!