Sunday, March 14, 2010

Learning to Love Yoga

I'd like to think I'm as open to advice as the next person, or at least certainly willing to consider advice that comes my way. When it comes to my fitness goals, my daughter, who happens to be Trish, has offered me bits of advice from time to time. One was to get rid of the scale (or at least quit weighing myself 10 times a day), and the other was to mix up my exercise routine with something different; something

Yoga? So what's up with Yoga, anyway? People seem to really love it, but I always envisioned people laying on mats chanting their way to enlightenment. Is that really going to get rid of my fat? I was slow to venture off my treadmill onto the mat, but I finally called Trish one day and told her I was going to try yoga. "I'm scared!!" I whined. "What if I fall over? What if I get into a pose that I can't get out of and they have to pry my legs into a normal position again???" She encouraged me, and I took the next step forward. I talked her into joining me where they offered a special introductory trial: 10 days of yoga for $10. I could certainly test the mat for 10 days with her as my yoga buddy.

After becoming a jogging addict, I questioned how standing in a position named after an animal could really get my heart rate up and provide the same fitness benefits that running 5 miles on a treadmill could. I entered the room feeling skeptical and scared. It was dark and HOT! A room heated to 96 degrees with humidity? Are you kidding me? Yes, this was hot yoga. But I gave it my all. My body twisted this way and that, my legs quivering while trying to maintain balance and alignment. I was a half moon! I was a downward facing dog. I was a camel, and a rabbit, and a tibetan table! Yikes! This was more strenuous than I thought! My trusty Polar watch validated that my heart rate was up, and the calories were burning off my body faster than I would have thought.

I've come to find out through research that there are more benefits to yoga than I knew. Aside from flexibility, did you know that yoga is effective in increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments, and tendons? Yoga also massages the internal glands and organs of the body, contributing to overall wellness. And best of all... improved muscle tone!!

So now it's been about a month, and something unexpected has happened to me. I have fallen in love with yoga. I can tell that my body is responding with improved flexibility and better MUSCLE TONE!!! But I also notice that when I leave the yoga center, I can't even fathom putting anything bad into my body (such as my beloved Diet Coke), at least for a little while! I guess it's true what they say about yoga... that it harmonizes the mind with the body. If we believe that the will of the mind can enable people to achieve extraordinary results, then yoga will be a double win for me.

There was a lot of wisdom in my daughter's advice to shake up the workout routine and try something news. Now.... I just need to work on weening my dependency on that darn scale. But isn't this fitness thing all about progress in the right direction anyway? One step at a time.


Becca said...

I am so glad you tried yoga! It is always good to try something new and get our bodies out of their comfort zones. I love yoga. I first took a class in college and never looked back. I do it everyday. I have started recording FitTV's Namaste Yoga program on my DVR to get new inspiration. I don't do hot yoga only because when I can get overheated easily. But I love the way my body feels after a good yoga workout.

I am trying some new things this month, too. I am trying out more Pilates moves and I am trying to take up hiking again (at least easy trails for now.)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Hi Mama,

Thank you so much for this awesome post! I love that you've tried something new and found a workout that invigorates you and challenges you. I'm so glad that we were able to share the experience together. Go Downward Facing Dog! Tibetan Table! Wooosh!

Love you!


ladydi said...

You put what I originally felt about yoga so well! I, too, do it nearly every day right in our living room at 5:40 in the morning, for 20 minutes. On the days when I "don't have time" I feel the difference the whole day, and you can be sure that it is a very long time before I am "too busy" for yoga again. :>}

Amanda D said...

I've done a couple of yoga classes, and I've enjoyed it. I bought the Biggest Loser Yoga DVD and it's a killer workout.