Okay so I know little to nothing about Yoga… And I don’t really consider myself to have a “yoga body” (something I made up in my mind as being very lean, petite, graceful, and perfectly pretty). Also out of concern I wouldn’t know the names or poses, the practice seemed a little too daunting. Recently that mindset has changed – blame the new year or the incessant ads for Yoga apps on my IG feed – I’m now seeing the potential of Yoga to positively impacting my work, fitness, and health.

For Work:

I recently began a new role as a Behavioral Interventionist (or therapist). In this role I will be working with clients with behavioral needs, including (but not limited to) ASD. During a recent meeting with a coworker we were discussing the physical demands of our job. It’s certainly not as intensely laborious as say a construction job, but the need to be constantly moving, getting on and off the floor with clients, and generally the level of energy (both physical and emotional) that our work requires got us onto the topic of Yoga. She shared with me the many ways it helps with physical strength, easing body tension, and developing a keen sense of inner harmony and peace. Not to mention the appeal of having a specific outlet for physical tensions; it is certainly a worthwhile skill to be able to tap into a calm state of mind considering the psychological and emotional demands of our field.

That Fit Life Tho:

At this point my interest was piqued and I turned to youtube to find a channel I could follow. I discovered Yoga With Adriene 🙂 and gladly started watching a few of her videos. In addition to her calming voice and careful descriptions of movements into each pose, she recently started a series called “yogarevolution” that contains 31 days of Yoga. I’m about to embark into day 3. If you are interested in getting into yoga and need a little motivation I HIGHLY recommend her channel. That said, if she’s not for you I do encourage you to check other yoga challenges, channels, classes, etc – find one that meets your need and skill level.

SO as I mentioned I started looking into the benefits of Yoga for runners and triathletes. (I’ll post the links below). I am seeing how Yoga has the potential to aid my day to day active lifestyle. For example, Yoga:

  • Helps reduce the physical stress of running – the rigidity and excessive tightness can be difficult to overcome – Runners can use yoga to balance strength, increase range of motion, and to train the body and mind.
  • Teaches the cultivation of body wisdom and confidence – This helps endurance athletes to develop a greater understanding of the body and how it works by becoming more receptive to the messages your body sends you (I don’t know about you, but I have become accustomed to IGNORING the little tweaks and twinges that I’ve been getting since 9th grade XC and could stand to be a little more in touch with what my body NEEDS)
  • Focuses on balance, symmetry and alignment – components of fitness that, when ignored, lead to injury! (Again, cyclists, runners and swimmers alike, the time has come to give attention to those weak, neglected areas that over time result in strains, fractures, and agonizing chronic pain)

Migraine, Migraine, Go away:

 

I get Migraines

They are bad

I get Migraines

They make me sad

 

Migraine migraine

I hate you

What will it take

To be ride of you

 

Migraine migraine

I’ve tried it all

To my inner healing

I must call

 

Yoga Yoga

Help me now

Soothe my aching head

Ease my furrowed brow

Okay so I won’t go into this TOO much, but inevitably I have come across claims for the benefits of Yoga on one’s health. Specifically, I discovered that some use Yoga as a means to combat their head pain. While it isn’t a medication replacement, it can certainly help by increasing blood flow, reducing anxiety, and aiding meditative rest.

One more thing…

Lastly, because I imagine many people had or have the same predisposition (potentially acting as a deterrent) that to do Yoga you have to be really skinny or know all the poses — I want to say, It’s just NOT TRUE. Amongst my extensive reading I came across the concept of ‘Yoga at every size’. Hearing that phrase really helped turn my attitude around. So here are the basics, learn what your own physical limitations are and stick with what is comfortable. Yoga, unlike many other forms of working out or exercise, IS NOT about losing weight, or targeting heart zones, or being the best. Yoga practice is meant to serve YOU and “integrate mind, body and spirit to achieve a state of enlightenment with the universe”- YOGA 101 . Okay, I know that may sound a little hokey. If you don’t already know, be prepared that many yogis talk a lot about being centered, connecting with the earth, and generally focusing on your breathing. That said, if you think that maybe just possibly your tension from work, aches from physical activity, or general health could be improved by simply being a little present for 30 minutes a day, I really do urge you to give yoga a try.

 

Those links – go on find out for yourself:

Yoga for Runners

Yoga for Migraines

Yoga Every Size

3 thoughts on “Let’s Go for a… Yoga!

  1. Well written article Ari. Nicely summarizes the practical physical benefits of a mind-body integration practice such as that popularly known as “yoga” (moving in and out of the poses known as asanas). A similarly physically beneficial field of knowledge is Somatics. A more modern approach to the mind-body integration science that shares many similarities to the physical practice referred to as yoga without including the word “spirit”. Nothing wrong with exploring the spiritual aspect of our selves but THAT Yoga is a deep well that does not necessarily depend upon any kind of physical prowess.
    Anyway, happy to hear that you as such a serious athlete are embarking on this focused mind-body practice. Done mindfully it can only be of benefit.
    Oh and one other thing, your comment about not having a “yoga body” is…well, considering your level of fitness…kind of funny (although I do understand the issues we humans have with body image).

    Like

    1. Thanks for the insights Rick! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts 🙂 You know it’s a funny thing about body type – you develop an idea in your mind of how you should or shouldn’t look and sometimes that can prevent you from trying something new. I’m so inspired to see that a mind-body practice, such as Yoga, doesn’t care how you look or what you wear. A pleasant reminder not to dwell on trivial things.

      Like

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