The APP was asked about lack of strength. This is a popular picture that circulates around the internet and this question is in the same vein. (I have no clue who made this picture).
You gain the strength from the practice.
There is also this question that applies, “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” What came first, the strength or the yoga? Doesn’t matter.
Ashtanga Yoga will bring out your weaknesses and give you the tools to build it up-this is what I love about this yoga and this is the reason many people hate it. In Ashtanga, you cannot avoid what you don’t like. If you aren’t strong, strength poses are coming. If you hate backbends, backbends are coming. If your hamstrings are tight, hamstring stretches are coming. You have two choices in Ashtanga, you can come face to face with your weaknesses, or you can quit. A good teacher will not allow you to go any further in the practice until you do. They will not allow you to skip it. Unless you have health problems or irreparable damage to your body, they will not allow you to stick with modifications forever. You will become strong.
Do Your Practice and All is Coming-you work on strength from day one. Sun Salutes are the first thing that every student learns and they contain push ups and floats.
Set Your Foundation-the foundation for all the poses in your practice comes from Sun Salutes. Many people come into Ashtanga and they want to “get up to speed” or learn the sequence quickly only to plateau and struggle later. Many teachers will teach them most of Primary series in the first few weeks for fear that they will get frustrated and not come back. However, trust the process. Ashtanga is set up so that the previous poses prepares you for the next. Build a strong foundation in the poses that you already do so you are ready for the ones that come later. If you work Sun Salutes properly, you will have amazing strength and flexibility.
Sun Salute A Contains
Backbends (urdvha Muka Svanasana) which is the precursor to urdhva dhanurasana later
Floats (going from urdhva uttanasana to chatarunga and from Adho Mukha Svanasana to the front of the mat) that are the precursor to jump backs, arm balances and handstands
Strength (in chatarunga and adho Mukha Svanasana)
Hamstring Openers( uttanasana and adho mukha svanasana)
Most people miss out on the strength and flexibility that come in Sun Salutes because they see them as a means to an end. They are seen as just warm ups for the poses they really want to do. However, if you see them as a practice onto themselves and work every movement, they will prepare you for poses to come.
Trust the process
All those amazing yogis you see on You Tube worked hard to get where they are. You have to work too.
Do more Ashtanga! Practice, Practice Practice
Do not skimp on the precursors-If you work the series right, before you get to your first jump back and jump through, you have already become strong in floating and holding yourself up on Sun salutes. Before you do your first full arm balance, you have already gotten strong in jump through and jump backs. Before you do your first wheel, you have done up dog thousands of times. Slow down and work on the precursors.
Got an Ashanga question? Ask it, we will feature it on the blog. If I cannot answer it, I will find someone that can. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org