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.