Is Yoga Enough?

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.

Namaste!

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I Passed the NASM CPT Test

Whoah. I did it. I passed the NASM CPT test. On the first try. Since I used advice from a few blogs, I thought I would share my formula for success.

I purchased the least expensive Self Study option from NASM. It was expensive, but I was prepared for the cost. When my materials arrived, I felt a little lost on how to get started, but decided to just jump right in. I am so glad I started studying right away, because I was in for a huge wake up call. Most of the information was completely foreign to me. Stress and panic ensued. Seriously. I have never been so terrified of failing!

I read the entire text book on my own and also watched all of the videos from NASM. I took the chapter quizzes, and retook them when needed. I filled 2 notebooks with notes and highlighted everything. Wow. It’s a ton of information. At this point, I was still freaking out and knew I needed help. I decided to purchase the Audio Lectures and Practice Tests from Fitness Mentors. www.fitnessmentors.com. Fitness Mentors is run by Eddie Lester. He also teaches the content in a classroom setting. I am not in the same geographic location, so in person classes were not an option for me.

While listening to the Audio Lectures, Eddie takes you through the entire book chapter by chapter. He gives you hints of information that may be on the test. After each Audio Lecture, there is an assignment to complete. I did each assignment. I also took notes and did the practice quizzes for each chapter. Once I completed all of this, I knew I still needed more help. I decided to upgrade my purchase with Fitness Mentors to include Power Point presentations and more lectures of the material.

Purchasing the Power Point lectures enabled me to go through the book again under Eddie’s guidance. He pointed out even more potential test questions. I again took notes and the quizzes accompanying each lesson. I was finally starting to feel at least a little confident.

I took all of the practice tests provided by Fitness Mentors and NASM. I never failed a practice test. Each time I retook them, my score improved. Still, I was not confident that I would pass the real test, but knew in my heart something would have to be really wrong for me to fail.

By the time my test date arrived, I had studied for almost 6 months, filled up 4 notebooks, and really understood the information. Understanding the information and not just memorizing it was key! I do not think I could have passed without purchasing the programs from Fitness Mentors. NASM has more detailed programs, but you can’t add on to your original choice, so I was out of luck there.

The bottom line is that you have to study…a lot! You need to understand the information and not just memorize it. You basically have to live and breathe it. I spent about $1000.00 when it was all said and done. I didn’t plan on spending that much, but it was worth it. Although I found out that I passed right away, I don’t know my score.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions regarding the study options or the test. I honestly don’t remember what questions were on it, but Fitness Mentors had me prepared! Good luck!

61 Points – Guided Savasana

Several years ago, I experienced 61 Points which is a guided relaxation technique often used to relax the body prior to practicing Yoga Nidra.  My teacher introduced the technique as a guided savasana, and that is how I have been teaching it.  My students love this relaxing practice.

During 61 Points, you are made aware of 61 distinct points in the body.  All the practitioner needs to do is draw their attention to the part of the body that is mentioned. There are other ways to practice such a visualizing a particular color at each point when it is mentioned.  I have seen a few different lists of 61 points in the body.  They all cover the same points but not always in the same order.  The list below is the one I use.

To begin, lie comfortably on your back.  Take time to get comfortable and release any tension you may be holding on to.  Start to watch your breath flow in through your nose and out through your nose.  Slowly begin to bring your awareness to each point in the body as it is listed below.  You can choose how much time you spend on each point.  When I teach this as a guided savasana, I have the students spend 5 seconds on each point.  I then let them have a few minutes to rest in silence.

Once you complete all 61 Points, allow yourself to rest.  When you are ready, start to make any small movements that feel good to you like wiggling your fingers and toes, gently turning your head side to side, or even take a full body stretch.  Where your practice goes from there is up to you.  Enjoy this relaxing practice.

1 – center of forehead
2 – base of the front of the neck
3 – right shoulder
4 – right elbow (inside or outside, as you prefer – the same for all other joints)
5 – right wrist
6 – right thumb
7 – right index finger
8 – right middle finger
9 – right ring finger
10 – right little finger
11 – right wrist
12 – right elbow
13 – right shoulder
14 – base of the front of the neck
15 – left shoulder
16 – left elbow
17 – left wrist
18 – left thumb
19 – left index finger
20 – left middle finger
21 – left ring finger
22 – left little finger
23 – left wrist
24 – left elbow
25 – left shoulder
26 – base of the front of the neck
27 – center of chest
28 – right of chest
29 – center of chest
30 – left of chest
31 – center of chest
32 – navel
33 – pubis
34 – right hip
35 – right knee
36 – right ankle
37 – right big toe
38 – right second toe
39 – right third toe
40 – right fourth toe
41 – right little toe
42 – right ankle
43 – right knee
44 – right hip
45 – pubis
46 – left hip
47 – left knee
48 – left ankle
49 – left big toe
50 – left second toe
51 – left third toe
52 – left fourth toe
53 – left little toe
54 – left ankle
55 – left knee
56 – left hip
57 – pubis
58 – navel
59 – center of chest
60 – base of the front of the neck
61 – center of forehead

Use the following link to access an audio recording of 61 Points that you can use to guide your practice.

Making Movies!

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.

Namaste

And…..2 Years Later

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.