“The pose actually begins when you want to get out of it.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
Ever wonder why we hold yoga poses? If you’ve been in my classes, there’s bound to be a pose or two where you’ll hold for a minute or two (if not longer). But why do I challenge my students to maintain their form for durations of time?
Is it entirely for physical strength? No.
In your yoga practice, it is about challenging your limits and reaching new stages of strength and flexibility while finding your edge, not pain.
Whether you hold your poses in a Yin or Yang class, it will help you build strength, focus on alignment, stay present with emotions, and increase mind body awareness.
It Helps Build Strength
Holding a pose for a longer period helps to improve strength and stamina because your muscles have to work harder to maintain a pose. This process retrains your muscle groups to become stronger to support your body.
It Improves Alignment.
Holding a pose allows you to observe your body alignment. The longer duration gives you time to actually feel, to adjust and to readjust.
It Gives Space for Emotions.
Holding a pose for longer than you are used to can often give space for emotions to arise. While uncomfortable, I encourage my students to observe those thoughts and emotions rather than push them away.
These emotions open up for different reasons. Some because of discomfort of the pose. Others out of frustration and comparative nature. Whatever the emotion is, yoga teaches us to practice acceptance and contentment by learning to stay with the breath and stay present to any emotion that arises.
It Stabilizes Your Mind.
Holding a pose challenges the mind. When you hold a pose for longer, staying still gives time for the mind to wander to the past or the future. What’s on your grocery list? What work do you need to finish for tomorrow? Through conscious breathing, you can stabilize your mind.
Your unwavering focus to your breath will help you feel more grounded in practice and off the mat. And in time, your breath will lead you into a meditative state of complete bliss and relaxation.
Practice and All Will Come.
Your practice is your own. When you are present in yoga, it is goes beyond your physical state. It is a balance of honoring your mind and body with a challenge of strength and flexibility.
Do what you can. Practice when you can. All will come in time.