The Art of Yoga

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: athletic training, beauty, body weight, caloric intake, calories, circuit training, clean eating, diet, exercise, fat loss, fitness, half marathons, health, heart rate, jogging, lifting, overtraining, running, runs, stretching, weight lifting, weight loss, weight training, workout, yoga |

I’ve been practicing yoga for a couple of years now and it is something that I have come to love. When I first began it was at a gym in Tampa and I would make the classes occasionally, but the timing was just never right. I also didn’t find the classes were enjoyable enough to make it a point to schedule my life around them. But when I moved to Boston I checked it out again at my gym. My first class was with a really tough instructor. The style she teaches is Vinyasa, which basically means that with each breath a movement is made so you are constantly flowing from one position to another. We did all kinds of poses I had never tried before, and still to this day I find myself using all of my power to keep myself in certain positions. I’ve been practicing consistently since trying her class for the last year and a half and I love it. There are so many benefits to practicing yoga and these are the ones I’ve really taken notice of:

– Muscle Strength and Endurance – Getting into certain poses and holding them increases muscle strength. Holding a warrior three pose or crow is really hard unless you have the core and leg strength to get into those poses, and by practicing you will gain the strength to get there.

– Flexibility – By trying again and again to get into poses you will become more flexible. Plus, once you get warmed up a lot of stretching is in a yoga class. I crave yoga classes after a few days of lifting, or the day after a long run. Once you get your body warmed up you can stretch much further and will eventually help increase your flexibility.

– Balance – many poses require balance and only practice makes perfect

– Weight loss – Like any exercise yoga is light cardio as well as muscle strengthening which absolutely aids in weight loss

– Mental well being – In the 60 to 90 minutes you are practicing yoga it is very peaceful. You are quiet, surrounded by very chill music , sounds or chants and it is all typically very soothing. It’s a really great way to get away for an hour each day. You are directed at the beginning of class to let everything outside of the room go and just focus on your breathing, your body and where you are right then and there. Every time I have walked out of a yoga class I have left feeling calm and refreshed.

– Other physical benefits – the well being of your cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, immune, musculoskeletal and nervous systems improve, as well as your posture, energy level and ability to sleep.

– And many believe it to improve your body, mind and spirit on a very holistic level

Aside from all these health benefits it’s just fun and it feels good. Every time I get into plank position and have to hold it for a minute or more I think about how thankful I am to be a yoga fanatic, because my core strength has improved dramatically since starting yoga. I swear it is because of yoga that my shoulders have become more defined as well. I mean, look at Courtney Cox and Madonna.. they are both really into yoga and they have amazing arms.

Everyone should try it at least once. Don’t be freaked out because not all yoga is hot yoga and it is okay if you can’t do all of the poses. A good instructor will give you variations of the poses so you can do something that is closer to your level of practice. If you have yoga classes at your gym, go check it out. Bring a towel and some water. If you want to try a yoga studio I would recommend calling ahead to find out if you need your own mat. Most places have loaner mats for a minimal fee.

Different instructors will guide you through different styles of yoga, and their teaching styles are never the same. But they are all trained and can help guide you through the positions no matter what skill level you may have.

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Kyra Williams
The Get In Shape Girl


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2 Responses to “The Art of Yoga”

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I see people trying this more and more as well as seeing more yoga studios popping up so you are right about yoga being a great workout. Your blog is great, keep up the good work!

I got my yoga start when I was in Boston too! How funny! I loved going to classes in the middle of winter where you could go and be warm and feel good. You are going to the hot classes, right? Even on a hot day when you walk out of the gym you feel cool.

I had an instructor tell me that you had to go 10 times with the least amount of days in between before you would really notice a difference. I found that to be true! Anyway, I am glad you are enjoying yoga! LOVE IT!

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