Project Jasmine – arm strength

Some of you will know that I started practising yoga about two years ago and in about 2 months I’ll be embarking on 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Mudra Edinburgh. I also dislocated my knee at the end of October (big ouch by the way) and so I’ve not been able to attend classes in the way I’d like (mostly because my transitions are so slow that I get behind quite quickly).

Everyone says, injury is really good for yoga, and it turns out – it’s totally true. Whilst it can be incredibly frustrating to lose the strength and flow that you’re used to – it teaches patience and empathy in a way that can only be learnt through experience. It’s also done wonders for my home practice.

Home practice

Right from the start of practising yoga I knew that home practice would be important but, I must admit, it was a bit of a chore. I did it, but I didn’t feel happy about it. Now, I look forward to my time on the mat. I enjoy researching, reading books about practice and deciding what I’m going to work on. I LOVE my savasana at the end and I really feel like I’ve accomplished something when I’m done. Now, I know I would have gotten to where I am now without my injury, but I do feel that having a forced vacation from regular classes has propelled me somewhat. And for that, I’m really grateful!

Having this time to myself, and doing a little bit of recording so I can look back on my practice (I hate a mirror as I feel it interrupts my flow) has helped me realise what areas I need to concentrate on. My two main areas at the moment (apart the obvious knee strength) are arm strength and backbends.

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Arm Strength

Here’s a sequence I’ve put together which I’m dropping in to my practice on a regular basis to strengthen my arms – it takes about 15 minutes of the practice and suits to being at the beginning on middle part of practice.

NB: I always start my practice with a couple of minutes of breathing (I change from practice to practice what type I start with) to ground myself and set an intention/focus for my practice.

  • Cat / Cow (1o breathes)
  • Downward Dog (10 br)
  • High Plank (5 br)
  • Child’s Pose (5 br)
  • Cobra (5 br)
  • Child’s Pose (5 br)
  • Dolpin Pose (10 br)
  • Low Plank (5 br)
  • Child’s Post (5 br)
  • Upward Dog (5 br)
  • Child’s Pose (5 br)
  • Downward Dog (10 br)
  • Side Plank – both sides (5 br each)
  • High Plank (5 br)
  • Downward Dog (5 br)
  • Child’s Post (10 br)
  • REPEAT x 3

When doing the poses, I try to keep mindful of my arms, shoulders, core etc so that my focus is on building my arm strength. (eg keeping my elbows up for Child’s Pose and shoulders back for Downward Dog). These are all fairly simple poses, but it’s good to maintain focus throughout.

This sequence was inspired by Andrea Rice in Mind Body Green. A video on how to do quite a few of the poses is below. Hope you find this useful!

If you’re ready for the next level – there’s also this video from Yoga with Adriene which has some good arm prep for chaturanga (my current nemisis!). I like Adriene’s simple and practical teaching – and I love that she reminds you that, first and foremost, yoga comes from within.

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About salidatious

I am Welsh but have lived in Edinburgh since 2004. I have been a PA for most of that time.
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