Is Yoga Asana Enough?

Over the past 8 years I have often been asked if I do anything other than yoga asana to train my body. And the answer to that question can greatly vary depending on when you ask me. Of course, like all of us, it depends on what is going on in my life. When I very first started practicing yoga, I was going to the gym every day. Eventually I started going to yoga more and the gym less. Fast forward to 2018- we opened our studio, Bodhi Movement Boulder, and I almost solely practiced yoga for the first 4 months after we opened. Now that things have settled down and we have been open for a little longer, I have been more consistent with other activities in my routine.

General outline of my current weekly practices:

  • I teach 5 classes a week at Bodhi, and though I don’t do the majority of the class I still find myself doing a lot of core work, some light stretching, and demonstrating proper alignment. Two of the classes that I teach are Handstand Conditioning classes, which again focus on building strength (aka a lot of core work and push ups as well as demonstrating handstand alignment). All of these things definitely help me get stronger outside of my actual yoga practice.

  • I take anywhere from 4-6 classes a week. The classes themselves vary, but most of the classes at our studio are challenging and include dynamic strengthening drills as well as arm balances and inversions.

  • In the winter Sam and I snowboard around once a week. In the summer this is swapped out for some hiking and other outdoor activities. I also randomly pop into to classes such as Pilates, spinning, and other styles of movement, I think it’s important to spice it up from time to time (both as a teacher and as a student.)

  • I try to go to the gym or train at home at least twice a week. My main focus with these sessions is to help balance my body, isolating and training the things I struggle with. Lately this has been a mix of working on pulling strength and posterior chain leg strength. This is also when I will do focused handstand work to train specific skills. I used to workout for 2 hours each time, but lately adding anywhere from 30-60 minutes has been enough to supplement my routine.

To recap:

Depending on what kind of yoga asana classes you are taking and how you practice, they very well could be enough for you. But I will never forget one of my teachers David C Kyle saying something along the lines of: Yoga asana should help you enjoy the rest of your life more, not consume your whole life. I really appreciate this sentiment, because my yoga practice is more for my soul than for my physical body. Even though my yoga asana practice often challenges me physically, if I am really looking for a specific workout I would much rather go to the gym (even if it’s for 30 minutes). Remember, if you do have goals of things you would like to do physically, find a teacher and make a plan that works for you, because likely they will take work outside of your typical yoga asana class. But no matter what, enjoy the journey, and remember that none of the physical stuff really matters unless you do the inner work to become a more well rounded human.

Much love.

Practice with me in Boulder, CO at our donation based studio Bodhi Movement Boulder or browse my website to see if i’m coming to a city near you. with any questions!

Photography by Amelia Vilona

Photography by Amelia Vilona