Yoga is the number one thing, that is most likely missing from your workout, that could actually take you to the next level in your fitness journey.
I am one of those people who feels that if I’m not gasping for air and sweating 7 gallons that I’m not getting a good workout. I know my sisters feel the same way and I attribute it to our gruesome collegiate training workouts that (for me anyway) literally almost killed you. We would spend hours doing skill work, that were cardio workouts on their own, followed by conditioning and/or weight training sessions. I’m talking thousands of calories burned within a few hours EVERY DAY! Our standards are pretty high. I believe it’s why we tend to be more attracted to the super intense workouts like INSANITY. I know they always remind me of my old softball workouts.
Then I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease….(this is 27 blog posts within itself) but my doctor told me to take it easy on the high intense and high impact workouts for a while. She explained that those workouts create a fight or flight response in the body which produces a specific stress hormone and leads to inflammation in the gut. Something I definitely didn’t need. She encouraged that I try yoga and light jogs/walking while my gut was healing and said that I would eventually be able to add the intensity back into my workouts.
I honestly didn’t know where to begin! I was looking at my workout schedule and seeing what I was willing to cut out…nothing really. But I figured that I was sick for long enough and that I would do anything to get better fast!
I came up with a schedule of moderate lifting with high reps, yoga, and walking. I practiced yoga about 3 days a week and saw improvements in my breathing, strength, flexibility, digestion, and HEALTH with each session! I was amazed at how it made me feel. I was able to wear my heart rate monitor to a couple of the classes and still burned about 350+ calories in an hour! That’s more calories than a 3 mile run.
I can’t stress enough, the physical benefits of yoga: it strengthened my core, leaned me out, gave me better posture, better balance, more flexibility, and I was able to see EVERY benefit in my other workouts! I was able to hold planks for longer…by MINUTES! I increased the number of consecutive push-ups I could do…by TENS! I was functioning at an overall higher level.
Besides the wonderful physical benefits, the mental and emotional benefits might even be better. You learn how to self soothe and deal with stress. When you think you can’t hold that pose for any longer or you can’t go any deeper, you push yourself to the next level and succeed…or maybe fail. But it’s okay, because yoga teaches you how to accept failure and move on. I can see clearly now in my everyday life, that I have mellowed out and “go with the flow” of life. This improves your relationships, your working life, your parenting, your sleeping, EVERYTHING!
But you don’t have to be sick to do yoga and see benefits! Anyone, in fact everyone, should be incorporating yoga into their workout routines. If you want to get stronger, leaner, more flexible, and balanced physically and spiritually, all while relaxing and stretching, you HAVE GOT to do this!
I challenge you! I challenge you to give yoga a try. Give it 4 weeks (I will be starting a yoga challenge in October) and observe the changes in your body and mind. The best ways to TRY yoga are easy: DVDs, YouTube, or a month of classes at your gym or studio! Set aside 10 minutes when you wake up, turn on the "Yoga Station" on Pandora, and try these moves:
As you improve, go for longer sessions or join a class. And get ready for October (order that DVD or join a studio for the month)! Who is ready to see a change in your body?! Let's do this!
I want to hear what you think about yoga too! Leave a comment or tag me in your Instagram posts @maggievee15.