Tensing your muscles to strengthen them is a form of overdoing. It was started by the bodybuilders of the 19th century who launched modern fitness and influenced modern yoga. However, as pioneers, they were not aware of the whole picture!
Modern fitness pioneers 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.
First picture, tense plank – Second picture, strong plank
That is why, even when you have a serious practice exercising,
you may tend to feel tense in daily life and you may have an urge to constantly stretch
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 fitness 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, optimal safety, and grace which shows up in their daily life as well .
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, bones, muscles, gravity, all cooperating with your whole body intelligence.
And if you have questions about this or you want to learn more, feel free to email me your questions through this blog or schedule a Free Consult with Cécile for a more thorough exchange.
You can also listen to the podcasts below:
THE WISE WAY TO YOGA Podcast series on Spotify and based on Cecile’s book
Cécile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for about 30 years out of which came her Body Intelligence Activation Process™ (B.I.A. Process) to assist anyone use their mind/body the wise way to prevent or clear, chronic tension or pain, of body and mind.
She also works with yogis of all levels interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. A Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner, Cécile is a faculty at the Akasha Yoga Teacher Training Course and the author of THE WISE WAY TO YOGA which is available on Amazon or from Cécile if you are local to Boston!