Last week, I was talking with two of my co-workers about yoga. They weren’t big fans and I was trying to convince them why yoga is awesome. But of course, all I kept saying was… “I love yoga,” “I love yoga,” “I love yoga.” (great argument right?)
And it got me thinking, what is it about those hour long classes that I love. I started attending Power Vinyasa Yoga classes in October. And I can tell you, those twice a week classes have been a lifesaver for my body as well as my mood.
So here it is Rachel and Bridget, this is why I love yoga!
1. Yoga provides the perfect “me” time. It’s a hour away from my phone, away from life’s busyness. There is no room for stress or for outside thoughts. Through the practice of breathing and the focus on the poses, all I can think about is the moment. I am in tune with just me and how I am feeling in that second. With a busy life and a new career, I don’t get much of an opportunity to be in the moment with just myself. And for two hours a week, I get to do just that. The inner calmness that yoga gives me is something I hold onto and cherish during my hectic days.
2. Yoga forces me to listen to my body. It’s during that quiet hour long class and those challenging poses that I am able to focus on how my body is feeling. Pose after pose, I am in tune with how my body and muscles are feeling. For instance I have recently found that my hip flexors are a huge problem area for me because of how rigid and tense they are. I am relieved every yoga class when we do Pigeon Pose because it allows me to stretch deep into the hip area which allows for better flexibility and movement throughout my day and my runs.
3. Yoga is great for cross-training for runners. Running exhaust the body. With each pound of the foot, your muscles are tightening and your body is imbalanced. Although running is wonderful, it wrecks havoc on the body. Yoga is the perfect cross-training for a runner because it helps elongate and loosen the muscles that have been shortened by running. Yoga provides an increase in flexibility of the leg muscles, balance strength, and increase range of motion. And I have found that there is nothing better then a yoga class after a 2+ mile run. The stretch you get is the most gratifying feeling you can have after a run.
4. Yoga is open to anyone and everyone. My two classes are filled with the most eclectic mix of people. Young, old. Women, men. Yogis, beginning practicers. To practice yoga, you don’t have to be super flexible or in tune with your body. That is the end result of practicing yoga. And the wonderful thing about yoga poses is that they can be adapted to your needs and flexibility. Both of my yoga instructors have us start a pose and will then add suggestions for those who wish to push farther. Most of the time, I stick with the original pose because those work for me.
Interested in trying yoga? Many gyms offer free classes with memberships! Also, yoga studios allow for beginners to try a couple classes before they commit to a membership. Keep in mind, there are also many different types of yoga. Some are more soothing, others are more challenging. My two classes are of the Power Vinyasa Yoga type, which is a vigorous and fitness-based class and focuses on strength and flexibility.
So go out there and try it! I promise you won’t be disappointed!