So, you guys know that working out is a SUPER important part of my life. And that I do it regularly. And that I include a mix of strength training, cardio and yoga. But I’ve personally never been one to for yoga more than 1-2 times a week. For many silly reasons…
I like a “hard” workout. I like the endorphin rush I get from cardio or heavy lifting, and I made up my mind a long time ago that I wouldn’t get that from yoga (again- VERY silly).
But this past January, I committed to doing 30 days of yoga in a row. I thought the increased opportunities for flexibility and focusing on my breathing would be good for me (it was). Maybe I also wanted to just test out how my body felt when I committed to one form of exercise consistently? Either way, it was a good experiment and here’s what I learned:
✨It’s good to challenge our bodies in new ways. Our muscles get very used to doing the same type of exercise on the same schedule, and that’s not adaptive or productive in the long term.
✨Yoga is a real workout!! My shoulders never felt so challenged, even in my days of heavy machine lifting or endless shoulder presses. And the ab work is added benefit!
✨Everything gets better when you take 20 minutes to breathe. My husband and I were just explaining this to our son, who was feeling worried about something. We told him that, most often, things get better in about 20 minutes. Pain, anxiety, stress- if you can breathe through the next 20 minutes, it will lessen. And as we were explaining this to him, I realized that this is one reason yoga is so good for me. No matter how busy I was, stressed about work, worried about things I couldn’t control or feeling a little blah, taking that 20-30 minutes out of my day and mindfully focusing on breath made me feel better. Every. Single. Time
✨Yoga is for everyone!! I’ve always loved recommending yoga to my clients and customizing poses to fit their unique needs. But during this experiment of mine, it also became apparent to me how much of a family activity yoga is (or could be). The kids joined me for about 50% of the workouts (though getting to do solo ones sometimes was the BEST). It made my trainer heart so so happy to sit in a sunny window and hear my kids breathing next to me on their mats, or to look over and see them attempting a pose. I couldn’t think of a better way to model self regulation and perseverance- and I really think we all benefited from slowing down a bit.
There was so much more I got from this month of yoga, but that’s the idea. And guess what?! My “regular” workouts didn’t suffer a bit, even if they were shorter than usual last month. I’m back to cycling, kickboxing and lifting with a stronger core, stronger shoulders, more flexible hamstrings and a deeper perspective about exercise- and life- in general.