There are times, though, when too much moving is not good for you — such as when you are trying to meditate. But incorporating more motion into your yoga practice is a great way to gain all the benefits of dynamic (aka moving) yoga poses.
This slight shift will often bump your yoga practice out of its rut and help you take it to a deeper level.
Benefits of Movement During Yoga
Everyone’s experience with dynamic yoga poses will be different. But the best way to find out if this is what you need is to try it out (or as I like to say, play with it).
Here are some of the main ways that adding movement to poses can transform your yoga practice:
- Deeper poses: Yoga is not all about stretching, but I’m still not the most flexible person in the world. In fact, every morning I step on the yoga mat, I feel like I’ve lost much of the flexibility that I gained the day before. If I come right into a pose and hold it, my muscles sometimes rebel (even after many Sun Salutations). But moving into and out of a pose before holding it usually allows me to go much deeper into the pose … and more quickly.
- Fuller breathing: In yoga, movement and breath are intimately connected. When you hold a pose, you may forget to breathe deeply (“Oh yeah, that’s why my yoga teacher keeps telling me to breathe.”). Moving into and out of a pose acts as a natural reminder to breathe. Plus, when you match the speed of your breath to the movement of your body, you can see how quickly you are breathing … and start to slow down.
- Focused mind: I include a lot of movement in my yoga classes. Many of my students have compared this style to Tai Chi — the slow, steady movements helping you focus your mind. I think it’s more like the scene from The Karate Kid (the original) where Mr. Miyagi asks Daniel to paint the fence. Of course, you may not be fighting any yoga battles in the near future. But the added mindfulness will come in handy during your everyday life.
5 Yoga Poses to Transform With Movement
You can add movement to almost any yoga pose. Even downward-facing dog. But here are some poses that are easily transformed from static to dynamic.
As you practice these, move into and out of the pose several times before holding. Don’t feel like you need to come to your deepest point right from the start.
I like to think of it as “brushing” against the tightness in your body and then backing away. This allows your muscles to slowly adjust to the pose. And it may keep them from clenching or fighting back.
If you want, you can also do your entire yoga practice in a dynamic fashion. Move into and out of a yoga pose. Pause. Go onto the next pose in your practice.