Yoga – I used to ignore it. I thought it wasn’t worth my time. I preferred exercises that were of higher intensity and burned a lot of fat and calories. To me, yoga didn’t meet these requirements.
Yoga revisited – Last month I checked out a yoga DVD just for a change of pace. I was in the mood for something a little more low key. That half hour flew by, and I felt so refreshed! I felt good. Optimistic. Woodland creatures came to greet me and clean my kitchen. Seriously.
Now I make a point to fit in a yoga session once or twice a week. This may not fit the definition of a true yogi, but it works for a beginner like me.
What I like most about yoga is the stretching. I enjoy improving my flexibility, and it’s something I need to pay more attention to, especially for protecting my injured knee. Somehow I feel longer after a yoga session; I have better posture.
I also enjoy working on my strength and balance, both of which yoga provides, and in a way that is less stressful to the joints. Again, my knee approves. Plus, being someone who constantly stumbles, improving balance is always welcome! (I always trip, but I never fall – probably thanks in part to dance classes as a child – otherwise I’d be a lot more up close and personal with the pavement.)
I find yoga to be energizing. I wouldn’t have thought this since there’s no running, jumping, or groove thing shaking. But it gets the blood circulating, and I feel I have a lot more energy just to tackle everything in daily life.
Yoga is also a great stress reliever. That’s pretty much well known. I don’t use yoga as a form of meditation as some may do. I do find the held poses and the deep breathing calm the body. It’s a great way to clear the mind and organize your thoughts, as many other exercises can do.
And I love the names for all the yoga poses. My favorites are the downward facing dog (oh, yeah, feel it in the calves) and the sun salutation (oh yeah, that’s a good one. I think my back just popped). I’ve actually done a few sun salutation-type stretches before an audition to shake away some of the nerves and tension. It counteracts that fight-or-flight syndrome.
I may never be a true yogi as my heart is still in to the more traditional cardio workouts, but I still feel yoga is a great addition to my overall workout program. Incorporating flexibility, balance, and strength along with cardio just makes for a balanced fitness program AND body anyway!
I leave you with an excellent instruction of the sun salutation poses:
Trying to find a good yoga video?
These are worth a look: