No food or fire today, just a plug for what is fast becoming my favorite form of exercise – yoga. While my dear wife and I have dabbled with yoga on and off over the years, we’ve both recently found our own “practices” at different studios with instructors that we really enjoy.
As a former gym rat, I hate to admit it, but I’ve seen more changes in my body after just a few months of regular yoga practice than I could get from the same amount of weight lifting. I am much stronger, particularly through my core, and have much more flexibility with fewer aches and pains.
A lot of people view yoga as a way making friends with your body. You ask it to do something, it tells you what it’s capable of, and you work out a compromise. No ego – just asking, trying, doing, asking, and trying again. Rinse and repeat – it is a remarkable way to relearn what your body is capable of and to calm and center your mind.
A big appeal of yoga is that it is accessible to anyone. There’s chair yoga, power yoga, hot yoga, meditative yoga, kids yoga, relaxing yoga, aerial yoga, water yoga, you name it… And within each of these, you can experience the postures at different levels. 20 people could take a basic hatha yoga class and get 20 different experiences. You could also do the same routine 20 times and get 20 different experiences yourself. It all depends on how focused you are and how deeply you can settle in.
My final plug – I have always ended a session of yoga feeling better than I did before I started it. I’ve never had that experience with any other activity.
Here are some yoga goodies that I’ve found valuable:
Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness uses yoga as a way to calm the mind and ease pain.
YogaAccessories Extra Thick High Density Yoga Mat, the extra thickness takes a big load off of my joints and knees.
Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball we keep one of these at home to help stretch out sore joints and build balance.
8 thoughts on “Yoga – Getting My Om On”
i agree 100%! i commute by bike to work, and yoga 2-3 times per week is essential to keeping me balanced and pain free. my husband is a runner (and consequently the most inflexible person i know) and has tried yoga a few times, can deal with it but is not motivated to do it regularly. i wish he had your attitude! it would be so good for him. i’m curious, what kind of yoga do you practice, or what’s your favorite? power yoga is definitely my favorite.
It’s a just a hatha yoga class, but the instructor is trained in biomechanics and does a lot of work getting us to engage the right muscle groups so that the poses don’t just look right, they work the right parts of the body. She does it workshop style, so we can stop and talk about how poses are working or not working. I live in front of a computer, so gaining strength and control over my core is really important. The stress reduction doesn’t hurt either.
I have been a gym rat for 15 years and I’m so over it. So over it, that unfortunately I can’t get myself to go on a regular basis anymore. I took a half yoga/half pilates class last year and loved it. But now that time slot doesn’t work well with my new job. I should just sign up at the nearby yoga studio. I agree, yoga is wonderful. Thanks for the push. I’m going to dust off that mat.
By the way, how often do you go?
Right now I’m just taking one 1 1/2 hour class every week and am surprised at how much of a difference that has made. Glad I could be a positive influence for once. Usually I’m just inspiring people to eat more grilled meat.
I do an alternative form called “Yogi”. It involves running through national parks and stealing pic-a-nic baskets. I get a great workout running from that ranger!
Very funny. Had my first class last night where I felt like a bear had worked me over – stiff and sore and not very yogi-like. Still, I’ve never had a case where I didn’t feel better after class than I did before.
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