Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tackling Your Fitness Bucket List: 30 Days Back to Basics Yoga Challenge

Ever wanted to try yoga, but were too intimidated by it? Maybe you think it's too touchy-feely, or not a decent workout. Maybe you feel you are not flexible enough, or you tried yoga once and it was awful. Maybe your afraid your feet will blossom like the tongue and cheek AFLAC commercial alludes to...

Rest assured yoga will not make your feet blossom and, indeed, yoga is a good workout for the whole body and mind. Here's why.

Yoga is a series of precise body-weight postures and movements that fall into the following categories:
  • Forward bends
  • Back bends
  • Balancing poses
  • Seated and twisting poses
  • Standing poses
  • Arm balance poses
  • Core poses
  • Inversion (Upside-down) poses
  • Restorative poses
There are almost an endless variety of balanced poses that work your entire body evenly, focusing on different goals to develop your strength, flexibility and agility. You also learn different breathing techniques in order to learn how to control and optimize your breath. One of the biggest "mistakes" a beginner exerciser (no matter what type of exercise they are participating in) makes is holding their breath. In yoga, learning how to breath with the poses is part of the process- nothing too touchy-feely about it. And each pose has both a beginner, intermediate and more advanced versions. Beginner poses which our challenge is based on can be done by anyone, while the intermediate and advanced poses take much practice and are the stuff that can intimate the pants off acrobats. So no worries, you won't be asked to wrap your leg around your head.

Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga allows you to work the whole body and focus on being in the moment, because you need to concentrate and focus on the pose you are working on in order to perform it properly and obtain the optimal benefits.

If you are like me and have tried yoga before and it just did not click, we encourage you to give it a go again. I did and found instructors that resonated with me and I learned to appreciate the many benefits yoga gives to the practitioner and now I LOVE yoga. That is not to say everyone who tries yoga again will learn to love it, but maybe you may obtain the many physical and mental benefits that I did too.  There are many forms of yoga and many yoga instructors out there that practice and instruct yoga in a way that may better mesh with you. You may even benefit from our 30 day Yoga Back to Basics Challenge.  30 days of beginner yoga poses with each day building upon the day before. At the end of 30 days you will have learned a grounding yoga sequence that focuses on total body strength, flexibilty and agility.

It will be fun so we encourage you to give a try! Namaste.