Yoga is a fantastic way to integrate stretches, poses and meditation techniques into an exercise routine. Instead of focusing on the muscle building or fat burning exercises with weight training and cardiovascular routines, yoga is done with intention and in a sequence with each pose given time to be practiced and maintained. These basic poses taught in yoga teacher training involve asymmetrical and symmetrical posturing.
An asymmetrical yoga pose focuses on one side of the body through movement giving the practitioner the time to experience the condition of their muscles establishing either the right or left side of their body. Symmetrical yoga poses use both sides of the body and are created to focus on your body as a whole.
Asymmetrical Yoga Poses
When you are working with a yoga teacher and performing asymmetrical poses, your yoga teacher will explain that practicing no more than three of these types of poses in succession without switching to symmetrical poses will create an unbalance. You want to avoid having one side of your body begin to feel stronger than the other. This can cause an imbalance that can inhibit utilization or proper yoga teachings when holding poses longer than they should be held. Muscle stretching injuries can happen as a result of doing too many asymmetrical poses without bringing in variation to your yoga teacher training.
An example of an asymmetrical pose is the triangle pose, which stretches one side of your body. You begin by standing with your legs far apart and then turn one leg to 90 degrees. Stretch your arms outward and put one hand on the leg where your foot is pointing to the side. Slowly, slide it down your leg to the floor while you are bending so your other hand extends up into the air. Your yoga teacher should be able to guide you if you are not sure of the movement or if you need to make any modifications to the pose.
Symmetrical Yoga Poses
Even though these are considered to be a great way to include stretching exercises, symmetrical yoga poses are really meant to enhance your practice of meditation because of the balance in both sides of your body at the same time. Using these poses in one continuous movement of stretch is supposed to develop an inner strength and mental awareness which also is promoting physical flexibility and strength. Symmetrical poses are usually the poses that are held for several minute to help focus and meditate.
To give you a good example of a symmetrical yoga pose would be to explain the bridge pose which is practiced by putting the body into a position that looks like a curved bridge. Your yoga teacher will begin by having you lie on your back and slowly begin to slide your heels close to your buttocks. Then bend your knees and raise your pelvis while you place your hands palms down next to your head. Make sure to keep the top of your head on the ground for extra support. This pose will help you stretch your arms, chest, stomach and legs while giving both sides of your body equal tension. These types of poses help promote spine stability and a strong proper alignment.
Some Advantages to Asymmetrical Yoga
Balance-The main advantage to asymmetrical exercise is the balance that it brings to your exercise.
Core Strengthening-This type of movement and exercise can help you isolate and focus on certain areas in your body. This helps your core muscles forcing them to work a little harder and getting more out of the movement.
Cautions to Take
Yoga teacher training does put some focus on the cautions to take like with any type of exercise. With asymmetrical exercise the imbalance put on your body during this type of practice making sure that you have proper alignment and equal amounts of exercise on both sides of your body is required. Failure to do this can result in causing yourself unnecessary injury.