A yoga practice is about focusing on what you can do and making body movements flow with ease. I often hear the words: “I can’t……,” a habitual response when people struggle to break through limiting physical habit patterns of movement to become more flexible. The “I can’t …” phrase is usually associated with an awareness of physical discomfort or pain which warns the body to stop doing whatever is a source of discomfort.
A question to consider, in consultation with a physician, is the source of the pain. Does pain arise from physical movement when the mind instructs the body to alter a habitual habit pattern? These are thoughts to consider when practicing yoga. Any new posture that requires movement in a different, less restrictive way, may create discomfort. However, yoga teaches body moves to improve health and fitness which may mean altering negative physical habit patterns that over time and physical repetition, been ingrained in the mind as normal. Thus, when learning a new yoga movement use the assistance of light hand-held weights, 2 to 3 pounds in each hand held straight down next to the sides of the thighs. Begin by lifting each arm out to the side to determine if the weight is too heavy or light. You can experiment by bending the knees, keeping the back straight and lifting one arm at a time straight forward while holding for several deep breaths. You will know if the weight is too light or heavy and then make adjustments. Return each arm, full length, down by the side of each thigh and rest.
Body Sculpting, means using light weights as a way to realign the body. It is best to stand in front of a full-length mirror to observe your form. Are your ears in alignment with each shoulder or is the head protruding forward? If you walk a few steps forward, do you remind yourself of a chicken, moving the head forward and backward away from alignment with the shoulders? This is a simple beginning to observe correct/incorrect posture.
Next, facing the mirror, slowly raise one arm at a time holding the weight. Remain with both arms extended forward for at least a count of ten, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Repeat this practice, at least five times.
The next challenge is to hold the weights in front of each thigh, palms down, raise one arm at a time out to each side and hold for a count of ten before slowly lowering.
When practicing yoga postures, the body needs to move slowly without giving in to momentum or quickly dropping the arms without self-control. Body contouring requires thought and discipline.
Observe in the photo, Mary Loe, Yoga practioner -- at the Shield Medical Group in Sebring -- performing “Modified Warrior Pose” using 2-pound weights in each hand. One arm is extended straight down the thigh with a deep knee bend and the other arm lengthened down the opposite leg. Hold this posture for several long breaths to strengthen core muscles. You can do it!