I hope you are having a relaxing, fun, and fit summer! Last month, I talked about finding something that you love. How is that going? I’d love to hear your success stories, so leave your comments below on how you are moving and grooving, staying in shape and loving it.
I found something new that I love. Yoga. Seriously, how have I been a fitness junkie my whole life but never tried yoga?
Like so many other exercises, yoga is perfect for all fitness levels. The great thing about it is that it is a mental workout as well. Your mat is your zone, a time to unwind and release stress, toxins, and any invading thoughts. In the process you gain mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, and energy. I’m telling y’all, it’s good. It can be difficult, but in yoga you are challenging yourself when you are ready. The instructor will lead you with his/her calm voice to a place where you think everything is possible. This sounds too good to be true; I know! But in all seriousness and honesty, yoga is amazing for your body. Practicing can lower blood pressure and anxiety levels and help with sleeping. There are even yoga poses that are said to help with fertility. It is also low impact, and there are kids’ classes (all three of my kids LOVE it, including my ten year old son). I’ve seen chair yoga classes for yogis that find getting to the floor challenging.
I’m still learning about the names of poses, but here is what I’ve learned:
- Go to a yoga studio. This is a must to get the full experience. It’s a little more expensive, but you are paying for the relaxing atmosphere which is an essential part of yoga. Nothing against the “Y” or the corner gym, but a studio is best. There’s a lot of deep breathing, so you probably want to inhale relaxing oils and incense, not bleach and sweat.
- Give yourself time. There are some serious yogis out there. They have the upper body strength of an Olympic gymnast and are able to balance their whole body on their little finger. Don’t pay any attention to the people around you. It’s your mat, your time, your practice. You’ll get more flexible and stronger the more you practice.
- If practicing hot yoga you will sweat – a lot (see Bikram Yoga and Bikram Choudhury). I personally love it because I feel like I’m releasing toxins from my body.
- I mean really, truly, let yourself go. This is your time to free your mind of all your worries, anxieties, and stresses. Do not allow work, house, school, or life problems to join you on your mat. When I finish an hour class, I want to give the world a hug. The relaxation is probably the best thing about yoga. You are giving yourself a very physical workout while completely relaxing your mind.
Try this Morning Routine:
The video below also shows the sequence of poses you can do in the morning that will get you started.
When you have gone through each pose a few times end by lying on the floor on your back, arms out to the side, legs open and straight. Take deep controlled breaths and let your mind go. Stay in this meditative state for a few minutes and then get up and conquer the world.
In love, fitness, and health.
About the Contributing Writer:
Megan Weidner is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp. She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri). She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.