1. Start with squatting.
Sadie Chanlett-Avery, a wellness consultant and founder of Sassafras Revival, a yoga instruction and corporate wellness practice based in Asheville, North Carolina, says that the first order of business when launching a new, strength-building yoga routine is addressing underlying problems.
“If you’re in pain, you’ll have a really hard time strengthening,” Chanlett-Avery says. “So, we unravel aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, wrists and back and remove layers of conditioning that maybe have helped us sit effectively at a desk for long periods of time, but are not actually conducive to strength training.”
While she says that “yoga is great for making us more flexible, we can also use it to create a really strong platform to build strength upon.” This is why she likes to start with something as simple as squatting to rebuild a movement everyone should be able to do, but a lot of folks can’t.
While squatting isn’t necessarily thought of as a yoga pose, “getting the squat pattern down is a fundamental human movement pattern that most Westerners do not have in their everyday movement diet. So, setting that up and getting people’s hips, knees and backs happy to squat is a whole project in and of itself,” she says.
Once a sound squat movement pattern is established, you can add weight or increase frequency to build more strength without pain.