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Yep, I do both Strength & Conditioning AND Yoga.

It's a very personal choice for me. Honestly, it just works...for me. Some may consider me rogue or not even a yogi. Well, I guess you could call me a two-timer. How dare I even consider practicing other forms of yoga let alone strength training! Gasp!  

I've read blogs here and there about people who've done both yoga and strength & conditioning. While most of what I've read is about how yoga can benefit the latter, I found that the sheer physical and mental strength to get through some of those workouts demand a will greater than I thought I had. This has helped my Ashtanga practice, not hinder it.

It's tough. But, I'm going to share with you 8 reasons why I feel mixing a sound Strength & Conditioning program to a dedicated yoga practice is so rewarding.

1. There's always room for improvement but there's no hurry nor pressure. PRs (personal records) are what a lot of S&C athletes are after. It takes consistency to make this happen and sometimes, the numbers don't go up, they go down. Be ok with it. It's all just temporary.  

Poses and transitions in Ashtanga are difficult and they take time and patience to really come to a place of depth, refinement and strength. 

2. You're SO present. For the allotted time for the workout, which is usually pretty short (5-15 minutes on average), you can't think of anything else but the task at hand. My mind is empty.

If only this happened every time I practiced on my mat. It's getting better, but there are those days...monkeys all over the place! Over time, our physical practice leads towards a meditative one. If there is such a thing as an end goal in yoga, that'd be to find enlightenment or spiritual bliss.

3. Once you get going, you don't stop or regret. As with anything that is hard, showing up has proven to be THE hardest thing to do.

I've never ever regretted working out or getting on my mat. EVER.

4. Expose your weakness. I have no problems whatsoever to say that word. Weakness. I heard in some schools, they use the word "needs" instead. Hey, whatever works for you. I already knew I needed to strengthen my lower body and core. Oh and my upper body too. Um, so everything.

Ashtanga is very much that way too. The practice can make you feel vulnerable, frustrated, not good enough. Work on it. Study and apply. And, don't take it too seriously.

5. Strength. With great coaching, good body mechanics, consistency, and a dab of faith, it's inevitable that you will get stronger. Over the last year and a half we've been open, people have gotten so much stronger than they ever thought possible!

Quite honestly, I didn't start getting my jump back consistently or feel stable through my hips and shoulders until I added in the strength & conditioning into my physical regimen. Sure, there was an initial threshold of incredible soreness and tightness, but it did get much better. There are days when it doesn't feel like I can move my body but I just do the best I can and I usually come back to the next practice even stronger. 

6. Pure raw love. I have to admit that I freaking LOVE our programming at Prana Vibe. While many still call it CrossFit, there are definitely aspects of how we (aka Shaun) run the program that make it feel non threatening and super supportive for anyone and everyone.

I've come to love my practice and I approach it as a deep self-study and compassion for my body, breath and mind. I don't push it. I look for the joy in all my postures and transitions. If there's conflict, I try another approach.

7. Fear smasher. Pre-workout anxiety is the norm. Sweaty palms, unsettled stomach, cursing. But once that clock starts, it's go time. No fear. Just a lot of gasping for air, lactic burn and brief moments of doubt. It all goes away when the clock stops.

"Vande gurunam..." Ah, yes. Just start the process. Practice unfolds as it should. It doesn't matter what I can or cannot do, but I just do the best I can that day, that practice.

8. You're not alone. I've not met one person who's felt like they got this down pat. We all "suffer" throught the same workout even when it's scaled down or modified altogether. 

Practice should be approached with that same mindset. Scale or modify it accordingly. Use blocks? I'm a fan. But, maybe at some point, you won't need it. Then, no blocks. See? Simple. We're all in this together. We may not look the same or transition the same, but we're still breathing as one collective.