Strengthen Your Body, Strengthen Your Team

It’s go time: It’s Marathon Month, Cross country season is upon us, soccer, volleyball, and (American) football are underway, crews are taking to the water for head races, basketball preseason is near… not to mention new fall projects at work and beyond.

It’s time to be strong.

What does that mean, anyway?

I'll skip the scientific definition (nerd alert!) of strength and instead say that I equate strength with balance. When we’re in balance, things function more optimally and our strength is optimized.

When it comes to yoga, people often assume it's all about stretching. It’s true: We stretch a lot. However, it's also a powerful means to build functional — practical — physical (we'll explore the mental side next month) strength. Many yoga poses cleverly mimic common sports movement patterns, helping to address both your prime movers (your big, visible muscles), as well as the smaller, intrinsic muscles that provide stability, create balance around your joints, and ultimately add power to your movement — kind of like putting a little extra spring into your step.

For example, most people can walk and run with relative ease, yet when ask I a group of runners (or any group of athletes) to do a simple Single Leg Balance, it quickly becomes, well, a shit show. That's because we commonly rely on momentum and our bodies are quick to compensate for lack of strength, rather than addressing it head-on. So, while Single Leg Balance mirrors the posture and lower body movement pattern required for walking or running, it's way tougher when we remove momentum from the equation and more muscles have to actually do their job to stabilize us.

Single Leg Balance. Not as easy as it looks...

Single Leg Balance. Not as easy as it looks...

Now, imagine how much more powerful of a runner you would be if you could Single Leg Balance like a Boss? Exactly. That's what I'm talking about: Building strength that's relevant to your sport.

With both your body and your team, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So, lets Hit Reset on our strength this month — bring it back into balance — by using simple yoga poses and sequences to build more integrated, functional strength for your sports, your work, and your life. Strengthen your body and you will strengthen your team. Together, we will all be stronger.

What does strength mean to you? How are you and your team getting stronger this month?

Share your pics on Twitter and Instagram with #teamwork and tag @jasyogaseattle @jasyogalondon