Category: LifePower Yoga

Tension, Compression and the “Hard Stop”

Tension and compression are concepts in the yoga world, taught and made widely known by Paul Grilley.

Tension is the muscular effort, the muscular edge. In order to build a muscle to strengthen it or lengthening it for flexibility, you have to go beyond to see or feel results. There’s “give” and room to go deeper with consistent practice.

Compression is the way your bones and body are built, causing a hard stop, bone to bone where there’s no more room, its just IS.  The way you are built determines your fullest expressions of any given pose.

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With tension, we can push, go beyond and get out of our comfort zones. This tension can happen on the mat in physical practice and off the mat, if life situations. We can see, feel and experience personal growth or a deeper expression of a pose.

In compression, the hard stop, it can feel damning, almost, to have to accept that your fullest expression won’t ever change.

Sometimes, in life, we feel the hard stop.  More often than not, its the story we are telling ourselves versus the reality of the situation. When you feel bone to bone in a pose, it takes a strong mind to be fully there, at the “end” of the pose. At the end of the pose, using your breath, you can experience all the pose has to offer. It’s said that in the compression (and the absence of pain), that energy and prana are being stimulated even more!!

I’ve been feeling the hard stop lately, a “life” compression.  Where it really feels like a ceiling, a wall, bone meeting bone, no more.  But if I look at the idea from a yogic perspective, there is opportunity by simply being “in it.” There is room to explore whether or not it is actual compression or is it the story I’ve created. There is room to grow if I allow energy to flow here, versus looking at it like a kink in a hose. There is room to flow in the space where it feels like nothing is flowing. Finding my breath in the space where there’s nothing more to do, fix or change.  Can I just BE with everything the pose or situation has to offer?

My next step? Harnessing the energy.  Finding another path to keep going and growing.  If you are in this place right now, I invite you to do the same.  Look at the compression as a place where energy flows, where you can be fully present in the situation as it is; feeling and experiencing it  instead of letting it feel like a reason to stop, either stop practicing the pose or stop chasing a goal.

Have you ever felt tension and compression, on your mat or off? How do you deal with working with the compression?

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Yoga Myths AND Upcoming Workshop!

As a yoga teacher, I’ve heard a LOT of “reasons” as to why someone *thinks* they can’t do yoga. Let’s run through a few of them and dispel some yoga myths!

1. “I can’t sit still, I can’t do yoga.”

Great news, not all yoga is “still” or on the floor. Vinyasa yoga is a powerful style – and there’s a style for every body. Some styles, like yin, are still. Some styles are a happy marriage of the two,  Vinyasa, in particular the LifePower Yoga style, can be a physically intense practice!

2. “I’m not flexible.”

Then we have something in common. And I’m a yoga teacher so hopefully the yoga police don’t come to class when I’m practicing!  Think of it like this – if you didn’t lift weights, you wouldn’t become stronger.  Same principle applies!  By avoiding yoga, you certainly won’t become more flexible but like lifting heavier as you get stronger, with a consistent practice, you will find your flexibility improving.

3. “I don’t know poses.”

And like learning anything new, you start by knowing very little. And that’s ok – this is why it’s a practice and any yoga teacher will help you with poses!  Either by consistently showing up to class or by working one on one with a teacher, you’ll learn poses.  That said, poses are actually secondary to the practice; your breath is always the first “pose” to learn.

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With an open mind, this practice peels away layers. With strong breath, this practice is rejuvenating, revitalizing and is amazing for your body too.

Prove these yoga myths wrong! Come check out my workshop at Life Time Athletic Mount Laurel on January 18 at 7:30pm.  Learn the basics of connecting breath and movement and some common flow sequences to help you feel more confident when you step on your mat!

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