Why You Should Learn to Love Yoga

Over the past few days, I have been on an awesome trip to Florida with my college girlfriends.

Awesome sunrise

Awesome sunrise

It was the perfect vacation, but, man oh man, am I tired.  I forgot that traveling was so exhausting!

Speaking of traveling, if you read my eight fears post, holy cow did I have to live through that on the flight home.  Turbulence city.  Not fun.

But I digress.  This morning, I wanted to get a workout in, but my body was just not having it.  So, I thought yoga would be the perfect way to go.

I will be the first to admit that I am NOT a yogi.  In fact, I usually stray from yoga, because I like a little more intensity in my workouts.  However, I started focusing on yoga when I was marathon training, and it made a big difference in how I felt, especially when I was dedicated to it.

I do not have a membership to a yoga studio, as I am, admittedly, too cheap for it (although I absolutely loved the one real yoga class I went to).  Lately, I have been using Grokker, which is a fantastic web resource for all sorts of yoga and fitness workouts as well as recipes.

Today, I did Amber Hensy’s Creative Asana: Full Flow for Healthy Hips.  It was awesome.  Just the right intensity, a little bit of a sweat, a great stretch, and a nice ending relaxation.

I felt so great afterwards, that it got me thinking about why even the doubters (like me at one time) should learn to love yoga:

  • It makes you stretch things you didn’t even know needed stretching.  My first yoga class had a great instructor who actually sat down with me before hand to ask where I felt tightness and what my fitness goals were.  At the time, I was running rather religiously, and so she focused the class on hips (the luxury of a very small class).  I knew my hips were sore, but I had no idea they needed to be opened as badly as they did.  It was really eye-opening.
  • Yoga helps you focus on yourself and eliminate outside forces.  Believe it or not, I used yoga ideas on my extremely not fun plane ride home last night.  As I mentioned, the turbulence was pretty bad for most of the nearly three-hour trip.  At times, I was truly ready to panic.  But, I remembered some of my yoga practices and tried to find my center and pull my attention in to that.  Those little moments of eliminating the stress outside of me really helped me through the anxiety-ridden ride.
  • It can be easily tailored to your fitness level.   In today’s video, Amber explained the next step of a pose.  However, before moving forward, she encouraged everyone to ask herself why she is taking the next step.  Then, without judgement, take it if you are ready.  Usually, I would move forward into a uncomfortable and frustrating pose that I wasn’t yet ready for.  This simple advice made me realize that there was no real reason to push myself beyond my limits and eliminate the benefits of staying in my comfortable-but-pushing zone.
  • It ends with an amazing few moments of relaxation that maybe the only ones you get in your day.  I can’t remember the fancy yoga name for it, but each yoga practice ends with a deep relaxation session.  Some on Grokker are rather short to save time, but even the short ones provide this blissful moment of quiet and calm.  I will admit that I often have a hard time shutting my brain off, but even just the body relaxation is a welcome change.

While I am not a dedicated practitioner of yoga, I like to try to incorporate it into my fitness routine once a week.  It gives my body a great opportunity to recharge while still staying in motion and building flexibility.

Are you in to yoga?  What do you enjoy about it?  If not, what is holding you back?

Any yoga advice?

Random question: Anyone want to share their worst-flight-ever stories? (Sorry to start with the negative.  My trip recap post will allow for more positive.)

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2 comments

  1. Great article! I’ve been stressing the benefits of yoga on my blog. I’m particularly trying to get guys into yoga, as there tends to be some kind of stereo-type amongst them that yoga is “only for girls”…..when in fact, it can do so much for them too!

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