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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Guest Post by Harry Cline – The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Flex Time: Yoga Provides Many Healthy Benefits for Seniors

Age is just a number, and even when our hair grows grey, and our skin grows wrinkled, it doesn’t mean we can’t push ourselves to live active and healthy lifestyles. Many seniors today have realized that there’s an easy way to stay active, mentally sharp, and spiritually whole—all at the same time. The secret is yoga, and whether you are caring for an aging individual, or aging yourself, you too can benefit from practicing yoga.

 

Yoga is Good for Old Bones

Health experts have been raving about the physical benefits of practicing yoga for years, now. While most exercises highlight improving strength and endurance, yoga highlights flexibility through achieving several poses. This type of exercise is low-impact, and good for older individuals to begin without pushing themselves to physical injury. Yoga will help you to return flexibility to your joints, reducing the chance for you to injure yourself when being physically active throughout the day. Additionally, practicing yoga will give you just enough strength and endurance training to burn fat and build muscle strength to give you a greater physical capacity for daily activities.

 

Yoga is a Way to Purify Yourself

It remains an unfortunate truth that many seniors struggle with addiction to alcohol and prescription medications. Sometimes this addiction is the result of depression, which can come in the later years of life. Addiction can wreak havoc on your life and the relationships you value. If you have struggled with addiction before and are currently in recovery, then yoga could be the perfect supplementary activity to help get your life back on track. For those in recovery, it’s important to regain love for the physical and spiritual self. Yoga is the ideal exercise to help peel away the toxic perceptions about yourself and learn to love who you are on the outside as well as the inside.

 

Yoga Melts Away Stress and Anxiety

 

Even if you are not personally struggling with addiction, you might still be facing some form of stress, anxiety or depression. Living an active lifestyle has been proven to curb these negative feelings for all age groups, including seniors. Living an active lifestyle through yoga could be the answer to keep you positive about yourself and help you through moments of stress and anxiety. As many who already practice yoga will tell you, meditation is a large part of the process. Through meditative practices that come built into yoga, you will gain mental clarity and spiritual peace. Even practicing yoga for 30 minutes each day can help remove stress from your life and have you feeling better about yourself.

 

Yoga Builds Relationships and Community

 

Sometimes with old age we fall out of regular contact with people important to us. Having daily social interaction is an important part of life and can fill our lives with purpose and meaning. While yoga can be practiced on your own, with a mat and instructional video, yoga is primarily done in a group setting. When you go to a local community center for open yoga classes, you will meet many different people, even other seniors. This kind of social setting is perfect for meeting new people and building new relationships. Having this kind of daily interaction can add so much happiness and possibility to your life, you would be remiss not to try.

So, if you are looking to get up and active, why not consider yoga? It’s the easiest exercise to explore and there are plenty of yoga positions and courses aimed for older adults. By regularly including yoga meditations and exercises to your daily life, you will be able to live a more active and fulfilling life.

 

About the Author

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

 

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!

Gratitude

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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?

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.