The Benefits of Challenging Your Yoga Practice

The Benefits of Challenging Your Yoga Practice

Embracing the Dynamic and Intense Dimensions of Practice - By Kirsty Brown

Reading time: 3 minutes

Ask the majority of people to provide three words in which they would associate with yoga, likelihood is you would get something along the lines of ‘flexibility’, ‘stretching’, ‘calming, ‘relaxing’, ‘meditation’ and so forth. Very unlikely would you encounter words such as ‘challenging’, ’strong’, or ‘intense’.

But yoga can indeed be all those things, although the latter set of adjectives are generally overlooked when it comes to the average yoga practice and indeed most people’s perception of yoga. This kind of stigma attached to yoga is why I’d previously had people walk out of my classes when they realised it was not going to be an easygoing and relaxing stretching session.

‘It’s not real yoga!’ these people might have cried if asked on their feedback. But what exactly is ‘real’ yoga?

Well that is one of the gems of yoga, that in fact ‘real’ yoga can encompasses many different forms, from gentle and tranquil, to dynamic and intense.

Often, I like my classes to incorporate both, finding a balance between effort and ease, between pushing and surrender; yoga then becomes a creative, explorative and highly rewarding dance between these two opposite yet complementary components.

By pushing yourself physically, your mind can less easily stray from the present moment, enabling us to experience an enhanced focus, tightened awareness a zen-like state of serenity and calm - which is nowadays referred to as ‘Mindfulness’.

Like the relief you may feel after a gruelling long run or a hard day of labour, the discomfort we feel from the challenging aspects of yoga enable us to better appreciate and enjoy the moments of ease.

Therefore, I encourage my students to push themselves physically through challenging and intense sequences so that they can gain more fulfilment from their practice, experience personal growth, and grow stronger, both in the mind and body, as a result.

Because after all, comfort zones are there to be broken.


Kirsty Brown

Kirsty Brown is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor with a background in Sports and Performance Psychology, based in East Sussex. Alongside teaching yoga and personal training, she is currently completing her doctorate in Cognitive Sports Psychology.

Kirsty is the founder of Dynamic Strength Yoga, a unique, strength-orientated style of practice which aims to bring enrichment and empowerment to the practitioner's fitness and overall wellbeing.