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Strong Body, Strong Soul, Part 1
Enhance Your Yoga Practice With Upper Body Strength Training

Because of its mind-body-spirit blend, yoga seems light years away from any sort of calisthenics or traditional weight lifting. But that doesn't mean that Yoga has no relationship to other forms of physical activity - anyone who has done a Vinyasa series has noticed that Chaturanga Dandasana bears a striking resemblance to a push up. Yoga postures such as Crow (Bakasana) and Side Plank (Vasisthasana) require upper body strength. Many people who are still relatively new to Yoga - especially women - find the poses that require strong arms and shoulders a bit intimidating. The lack of upper body strength may put a damper on their practice. Yoga is supposed to be empowering, so it's quite frustrating when it emphasizes a weakness. If you work diligently enough and use good form, you will eventually be able to master the basic postures that require arm, chest and shoulder strength - you may even be able to graduate to more advanced postures, such as Peacock Feather (Pincha Mayurasana) or Firefly (Tittibhasana). But you can speed up the process with some good, old-fashioned, non-spiritual strength training. In fact, you can speed up the process even further by adding some mind-spirit focus to your strength training, too!

(Article continued below.)

There are any number of ways to strength train - the most familiar involves the use of weights. This is an extremely effective way to gain upper body strength and women should not be afraid of it. The great majority of women do not have anywhere near enough testosterone to "bulk up." Females have to work very hard with very heavy weights to gain the type of muscle mass that would be considered bulky. In fact, women who are fitness and body building competitors often take steroids to help gain muscle -- and they sacrifice their long-term health to do so. Steroid use is very dangerous and should never be condoned for either sex. The good news for those of us who practice Yoga and weight training regularly is twofold. One, no matter our gender, we are less likely to have bulky muscles than those who weight train alone. Two, we don't need to heft a lot of weight to improve our Yoga sessions significantly - we can even get by in our strength training without using weights if we want.

Next page >> Get Your Strength Training Tips & Facts Here! >> Page 1, 2

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