Monday, November 30, 2009

Strength and Flexibility in Yoga Practice

I've been noticing an interesting relationship lately between the weather and ease or difficulty in morning yoga practice. I first noticed a long time ago, that in warm humid weather my muscles were considerably more amenable to deep bending and stretching. Lately though, I've been aware of another layer.

Central Florida is finally experiencing some Fall type weather and things are a little cooler and drier. This means I have to work a little harder on breath and bandha to create heat. Fall weather in central Florida can switch from cool and dry to warm and humid at any time though. This has made me much more aware of how the weather can affect tendency toward greater strength or greater flexibility.

While I've been aware for some time that I tended to be more open on warm, humid days, I have more recently noticed that on those same days poses requiring more strength are more likely to fall apart. On the cooler, drier mornings, poses requiring more strength than flexibility (i.e. laguvajrasana or arm balances) often feel stronger and steadier.

I try not to get too attached to either version of practice as it's all likely to change again tomorrow anyway. It makes me wonder a bit though about all the factors outside myself that I allow to influence my steadiness and flexibility (in the broader sense) when I step off the mat and start the rest of my day. I am hopeful that the practice of catching myself when I'm feeling attached to any one expression of a pose in yoga practice will translate to catching myself when I'm feeling attached to any particular circumstance off the mat.

These are the things that I love about the Ashtanga yoga practice...the discoveries and the work never end!

1 comment:

  1. just reading this is amazing how the weather can effect us. the heat and humidity sap our strength yet allow more flexibility. how much of this can we - or should we - try to counteract...? To be as 'even' as possible, if that is a goal, would it be better to work more on strength when it's humid? Or simply accept that this is a condition of today and do less...