I have been practicing yoga for 14 years and my practice has slowly progressed in that time. I have had plenty of setbacks, from back problems to a MCL knee injury to hyper-extending the same knee while skiing. One thing this does is help me keep a humble perspective on my yoga practice. I am a type A personality, and I like to push myself, but due to my injuries, this is not always possible. My body ebbs and flows more often as I approach my mid 40’s, and it recovers more slowly.Simply put, I have good days and bad days. I have begrudgingly accepted this slow decline as a part of my life, but while I have to age, I don’t have to give in and become a 40 something year old with an out of shape body, a beer gut and low energy.
This year has been a pretty good start for me. While I am fighting tennis elbow on both arms and a wrist problem, my older injuries are not kicking up too much of a storm. This has allowed me to start my goal of lifting weights 3 times a week with a focus on my chest, arms and shoulders. I am a couple of months into my routine and thus far I am happy with the results. I don’t want to over bulk up, that is not my goal, but rather I want to tone up and develop a more cut look.
That brings me to my yoga practice. Yoga is great at developing legs, abs, shoulders and bi/triceps, but is abysmal at chest exercising. That is what led me to cutting back on yoga and adding more weight lifting to my routine. If you are a guy and want flexibility and muscles I highly recommend you consider yoga 2-3 times a week and lifting 3 times a week. Adding these two very different styles of exercising together will produce nice results. The big upside, I have found, is that arm posses such as crow, side crow, and peacock are much easier to hold.
Since my right wrist is tender, I try to avoid putting too much pressure on it. I discovered the other day I could do peacock with just one arm under me rather than both. This is because my arms are stronger from the weight lifting I am doing. I also can do side crow just using my left arm for support and my right arm just for balance. So if you are looking to take your yoga practice to the next level, I highly recommend integrating weight training into your regimen. This will dramatically improve your inversion practice.