Author: Jackie Thomas
In a world where we applaud bulging muscles and breathless workouts, it’s easy to understand why yoga doesn’t have the big, bad rep that say a kickboxing class might. I’m with you. An hour of calorie crushing spin or soul fulfilling yoga? That can’t be a serious question.
Maybe it’s time we all give yoga a chance though.
During the month of April I vowed to give yoga a chance. I wanted to seek my inner zen and gain some flexibility to my six foot frame. For a month I practiced yoga twice a week, either at my gym or using the OnDemand workout videos from my cable. My initial worries of not having enough experience or that yoga wasn’t difficult enough disappeared after my first session. If you think yoga isn’t a tough workout, wait until your body is shaking to hold the poses while women twice your age are able to seamlessly move from one pose to the next. Yeah, I checked my ego at the door.
At the end of the 30 days, I have to admit, I’ve come to appreciate yoga. It not only calmed me mentally but physically made me stronger.
If you’re on the fence like I was, it’s time for you to give yoga a honest try.
Benefits of Yoga
Increased flexibility. Finally touch your toes!
Increased muscle strength and tone. Hello, killer core!
Improved respiration, energy and vitality. Pop out of bed every morning.
Maintain a balanced metabolism. Burn those calories even when you’re napping.
Weight reduction. Has anyone ever complained about being a couple pounds lighter?
Improved athletic performance. Beast in every other sport.
Protection from injury. You won’t get hurt as much!
Different Types of Yoga
In Vinyasa Flow, instructors have students arrange themselves in different poses with flowing breath from one move to the next. The word “Vinyasa” actually means “arranging something in a special way.” The following pose sequences are usually used throughout a Vinyasa class: Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward-Facing Dog.
Power yoga, a Vinyasa practice, increases stamina, strength, flexibility and serves as a stress reduction. Yoga instructors are able to design their own moves and teach students how to synchronize their breath.
Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is practiced in a heated room. Temperatures range from 85 to 105 degrees. The increased heat is said to help flush toxins and increase flexibility.
Restorative yoga is made up of five to six poses supported by props to help you completely relax. Students typically hold twist, fold and backbend poses for 5 or more minutes.
Where to Try Yoga
If you already have a gym membership, group yoga classes are a great place to start. It will be a general practice that will get you familiar with common poses.
Specialized yoga studios are popping up everywhere and are a good place to find hot, restorative and other niche yoga practices. Check out your local area for drop-in classes for as low as $15 per visit.
Believe it or not, depending on your cable company, you could have yoga videos at your fingertips. Check out the OnDemand section and you can start your morning (or end a hectic day) with poses in the comfort of your home.
If you can’t find free yoga workouts through your cable company, don’t sweat it, there’s still YouTube. A simple search and you’ll be in yoga pose heaven. Moreover, your wallet will thank you for the free workouts.