Over 20 years ago I stopped playing sports, said good riddance to the gym, and rolled out my yoga mat for what would become a long romance with vinyasa yoga. Since I couldn’t touch my toes, let alone do a backbend to save my life, my singular physical focus was to create more flexibility. I was strong, but I had no range of motion. Since the grass is always greener—and I didn’t truly understand that strength and flexibility are not mutually exclusive—I focused too heavily on flexibility. Then, like so many yoga practitioners, the over-stretch issues starting showing up: sacro-iliac instability, sacro-lumbar strain, hamstring insertion pain, shoulder pain with deep flexion, and more. Oh, yeah, then I turned 40 and I realised I couldn’t take strength and conditioning for granted any longer.
For the last few years, my practice has circled back to creating functional strength and stability in my body—without compromising my flexibility. I’ve learned that strengthening my body doesn’t decrease my range of motion when it’s done right. I’ve revised nearly every element of my vinyasa yoga sequencing to create muscular balance throughout my body—especially the regions that are excessively vulnerable in vinyasa yoga including the hamstrings, external rotators, sacro-iliac region, and shoulders. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’ve brought that through in my practice.
It might seem obvious that we need to balance strength and flexibility in vinyasa yoga. But the reality is that we don’t. Not even close. These 3 workshops are the culmination of many years spent revising elements of vinyasa yoga in order to create a more balanced and sustainable practice.