Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that 2014 is off to a rockin’ good start. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d follow suit and step away from the food and into the workout clothes. At least for this post.
Over the years, my workouts have changed and changed again. I was a dancer through the end of high school, so I never really had to think about being active – it was just a part of life. In college and grad school, I turned to the gym at school with mixed results and levels of commitment. Just last summer, I tried to start running outside. Sometimes I still try.
So, with that mixed bag of workout experience, I’ve been looking for something that fits my needs and yes, limitations. I don’t want to bulk up, but I do want to build long and lean muscles. I like to get outside and jog when I can, but my allergies sometimes prevent that. In the end, the answer was pretty obvious.
Yoga! For me, it’s the perfect blend of physical activity and mental relaxation and relief. Here’s why I think it’s so great:
- Its main focus is on relaxation and centering yourself. I feel that a lot of workout programs that ask you to push yourself too much can cause stress, which can be counterproductive.
- It lengthens muscles and gives you a “dancer body.”
- Many of the stretches are designed to detox the body.
- Most, if not all, of the stretches and exercises help you to build muscle and stretch it in a way that protects you from injuries and deterioration.
- It is a beautifully quiet time of my day in which I can relax and pray.
- It’s indoors. Yes, I know you can do yoga outdoors, but I really value an indoor workout given my constant battle with allergies and the associated breathing issues.
- And speaking of allergies and breathing issues, yoga has actually helped me out – my doctor even confirmed that.
So, as you see above, there are three yoga workouts I’ve been rotating for the past few months.
Here you have them:
Ashley Turner’s “Yoga for Stress Relief & Flexibility.” This is a really wonderful program focused on relaxation. She talks a lot about how everyday things like driving and sitting at a desk can take a toll on the body (and mind), and her program is really a remedy for that. I sometimes have tight muscles in my back from sitting weirdly while working, and her workouts gave me instant relief! My favorite pose: virasana.
Mandy Ingber’s “Yogalosophy.” Enough relaxation – time to get to work! If you’re looking for meditation, this is not your workout. If you’re looking for pilates disguised as yoga, this is for you. She starts with a yoga pose and then takes you through exercises based on it. After the first time I did this, I literally could not walk properly until the next day. Having said that, it flattened my abs like nothing else. My favorite pose: boat.
Seane Corn’s “Detox Flow Yoga.” I just picked this up a few weeks ago, and I’m so glad I did. While both of the other workouts are great, since I’ve been gravitating more and more toward yoga, I wanted to add some variety where I could. I’ve actually only done one of the workouts here, but it’s all focused on releasing toxins from the body and purifying your mind – pretty good, eh? My favorite pose: all of the standing twists.
Well, there you have it: the yoga trifecta. I’ve found yoga to be an excellent complement to my pursuit of eating clean and living well. It always makes me feel amazingly light and strong, and I’m reasonably confident that years from now, I’ll report back to you that I still feel great.