When you hear the phrase "full expression of the pose" do you think of the cover of Yoga Journal or do you think of the shape and expression of your body in that pose?
Each of us needs to be able to identify the limits of our own flexibility and mobility, and then learn how to access, engage and strengthen our muscles so we can safely and intelligently reach beyond what we thought was possible.
Building strength at the end range of motion sends a signal to our nervous system that it's safe to move into a given position. Paradoxically, it is by developing strength that we may ultimately find more "flexibility." At the same time, we protect our joints and set the stage for sustainable, long-term mobility and movement.
Incorporating strength training and other movement modalities into, or in addition to a yoga practice* can help build and maintain muscle strength and mass, ultimately increasing the ability to do every day activities and decreasing the risk of bone loss, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and injury.
We may never be able to get our leg over our heads, but if our end goal is to stay strong and healthy, keep practicing yoga, and be able to get up out of a comfy couch well into our 90s, who cares?