Many students ask me if practicing yoga is enough to get in and stay in shape. Just like everything, it depends. I personally cannot maintain my yoga practice without strength training. If I don’t strength train, I tend to become injured from my yoga practice. This may not be the case for each person, but cross training has many benefits for all.
Practicing yoga tends to include a lot of repetitive movement. This can lead to repetitive movement injuries as well as muscle imbalances. If we do the same practice over and over we may be building strength, but we are also probably neglecting some muscles. For instance, we tend to stretch our hamstrings a lot in yoga, but often neglect to stretch the quads. We also tend to use our pushing muscles in yoga in poses like plank and downward facing dog, but what about the pulling muscles? Since we use the pushing muscles so much more that the pulling muscles in yoga, we often create muscle imbalances in the shoulders. The good news is that these imbalances can be corrected with well planned stretching and strength training.
Part of a well rounded fitness plan is cardiovascular work. For the most part, yoga just doesn’t get the heart rate high enough long enough to be an effective cardio workout. Of course, I am sure there are some classes that are the exception to this, but in general, yoga is not considered a cardiovascular workout.
Actually, yoga is not a workout at all! Yoga is a spiritual practice with some of the same benefits of an exercise program. Don’t confuse the two. Yes, we move our body in yoga but not to lose weight or gain muscle. We move our body to increase Prana (life force) or to create a particular energetic effect. It is awesome to keep yoga and exercise separate. When you honor the reality that yoga is a spiritual practice, you can let go of your desire to workout, your need to be on the go all of the time, and your competitiveness for the time you are practicing. You end up calming the body and mind and finding stillness that typically isn’t found while pumping iron, and become part of a community of like minded people.
The cross training yogi gets the best of both worlds. The spiritual practice that brings peace and balance, and the exercise routine that builds strength, increases flexibility, and reduces the chance of injury. If you are interested in cross training to compliment your yoga practice, contact a Certified Personal Trainer who is also a Registered Yoga Teacher. They will have the expertise to help you meet your goals.
Every November I focus on the theme “Gratitude” in my yoga classes. Gratitude, like yoga, is a practice. It’s training yourself to view the world in a certain way. Viewing the world through eyes of gratitude can change your life. Instead of yearning for the latest style of shoes, you realize just how blessed you are to have shoes at all. Many of you reading this (including myself) may even become a bit embarrassed as you realize how much excess you have. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to have “things”, but looking at your life through eyes of gratitude can put you at ease. You have enough. Maybe you even have more than enough. Perhaps you choose to share with those who don’t have as much.
One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins:
“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant”.
Boom. Life changing. Think about it. Imagine a situation where you were disappointed. Your expectations were not met. If you trade that expectation for appreciation, you suddenly feel so blessed and no longer focus on the feeling of disappointment. Ahhhh. Sweet freedom.
As we move closer to Thanksgiving, I encourage you to view the world through eyes of gratitude. Many people find that keeping a gratitude journal provides a wonderful way to be aware of blessings. I simply write down 3 things that I’m grateful for any time I pass by my journal. Others choose to journal as a daily practice perhaps before going to sleep at night.
If you find it difficult to think of things that you are grateful for, remember this quote from Oprah Winfrey:
“Whenever you can’t think of something to be grateful for, remember your breath. With each breath you take, you can say, ‘I’m still here'”.
How do you practice gratitude?
I signed up to participate in Hanuman Academy’s Yoga & Self Mastery Summit. It is a free, week long, online summit featuring master yoga teachers and consciousness leaders. I scanned the featured presenters and was sold immediately! Rod Stryker. Say no more. My Yoga Teacher Training program featured 5 days with Rod Stryker. He is an amazing yogi, orater, and a genius for sure. I enjoyed those 5 days of training so much that I went back for 5 days the year following. His trainings are incredibly rich. I know I only absorb a small percent of the lectures and am patient knowing I will continue to learn.
The subject of the talk that Rod Stryker gave was Challenges and Opportunities for the Modern Yogi. I decided to watch and listen. It was amazing. I highly recommend checking it out. Tantra was discussed for much of the talk. I love Tantra. The idea of a methodology that leads you to be a better version of yourself if you PRACTICE is just the answer to everything to me. Another topic in the talk was tapas. I’ve focused my practice and teaching on tapas in the past, but I now feel I understand the topic a bit more clearly. I look forward to digging deeper.
About a month ago, I went to LoveLight Yoga & Arts Festival. The message I took home was: PRACTICE. This was a huge message of the talk today. Practice. Also, have a teacher. Someone who has explored this methodology for themselves. One other message was to be selective with regards to your teacher. I am ready for a teacher. I definitely have “modern yogi” challenges as I work teaching yoga and care for my 2 young sons. My lifestyle makes traveling to study with a teacher quite difficult and then there is also the financial aspect involved with travel. I am currently looking for local teachers that I may be able to practice with. I am being selective as I am ready to have a deeper practice. Here’s the thing though. Have I gone to a class this week? No. I won’t find my teacher that way. I must commit to doing it. I must practice tapas and go to class even if I need to clean the house, feed the dogs, etc. It will only make me a better version of myself.
How did you find your teacher? I’d love to hear from you.
Blissing out at LoveLight Yoga & Arts Festival after an amazing
Dharma Yoga class. 2017.
My technology skills have definitely decreased since leaving corporate America 8 years ago. I really was a computer whiz! Now, not so much. Things that used to take only a few clicks now take so many clicks.
I am working on a few things regarding my career as a yoga instructor. I am really ready to grow my business. I have a few things in the works. On the top of the list is my desire to start updating my You Tube channel more frequently. This afternoon I sat outside and created a trailer for my future videos. It is super simple, but it communicates important information for my viewers. Feel free to visit my You Tube channel and don’t forget to subscribe to hear when I upload new content! My channel name is bloomyogamd.
This makes me laugh! I guess I started a blog 2 years ago and never came back. Well, here I am. Ready to pick up where I left off. A lot has happened these past 2 years. My teaching has expanded, my children have grown, and we now have 4 dogs & a cat. Sadly, the blue fish is no more. I have been much healthier these past 2 years after having a couple of years where I was sick all of the time. As a mother of 2 little ones, I was so run down and just couldn’t get well. Now, things are different. I am taking better care of myself. Because of that, I am able to take better care of my beloved family.
I am currently teaching Vinyasa, Level I/II Hatha, Yoga for Beginners, and a few All Levels classes. I am working on becoming certified as an Aqua Yoga Instructor and begin teaching that later this month! I have also been able to grow my Beach Yoga classes from one beach to 2! I have so much to talk about, but today just wanted to touch base to say, I’m here! I’m ready to share amazing content with you as you move along your yoga journey.