February: The Month of Yoga

This past month I decided my new exercise of the month would be yoga.  Like most people- I get bored with doing the same thing every day.  I get tired of the monotony and wanted to try something else.

At the beginning of the month, I found myself pressing play for yoga and making snarky comments at the yoga instructors as they talked about ‘zen’ and babbled about ‘feeling the earth’. I really didn’t want to listen to the psycho-babble (which hasn’t changed) and found laughing at some of the comments delightful.  That being said- I did find most of the workouts enjoyable, even at the beginning.  I loved the loose feeling afterwards and the overall relaxation that I got from my twenty minute session.

About halfway through the month- I started discovering muscles I hadn’t actively used in years. Little muscles that needed strengthening and bigger muscles that could adapt far better than expected.  I also discovered that my body really likes this kind of exercise.  It likes not being forced to run miles and miles on concrete.  It likes not having to do strength exercises that make it ache.  It likes the gentleness that comes from yoga.

Finally- at the end of the month I found myself moving to an hour of yoga two days a week and twenty minutes of yoga three days a week.  Mixing this in with my cardio routine certainly has helped me.  It has broken up my cardio monotony and given me something new to do, something that I fully plan to continue in the coming months.

One part of yoga that really cannot be ignored is the fact that it makes you turn your thoughts inward to see if you can ‘feel’ why you are unable to do a certain movement.  Is it fear?  Strain?  Do y0u not bend that way?  It makes you focus on your inner self and parts of the outer world just fall away.  It may not be conscious, but it is certainly something that I found helpful and I hope to continue to undo some of the issues that are slowly coming up as I focus in this way.  Clearing out the emotional gunk is just one more thing I am looking forward to.

Pros:

  1. Videos easily accessible online (check out Yoga Zone’s videos which can be found here and are also available on Hulu)
  2. Increased flexibility and strength
  3. Minimal equipment needed (yoga mat and enough space is all you need!)
  4. Stress Reliever

Cons:

  1. Many videos lack modifications
  2. The fact that I just don’t bend that way (I am sure you have all seen the photos of a person contorted to the point that it makes you wonder how it is possible)

Takeaways:

Start slowly and start with the twenty minute workout and work your way up.  Also, try to slowly bend into new poses that are struggles for you and work up to doing the full version.  Ultimately- relax and enjoy!

Suggestions for the March Exercise of the Month? Comment below!

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