Join me as a try to feed my family lots of Raw and Superfood. I like to write about the edible garden, exercise, and learning to love my natural expression. I am a Family Practice Physician and believe there are alternatives approaches to feeling your best.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yoga- My long over-due thoughts

I have never enjoyed participation in an exercise class before, until yoga. I've enjoyed yoga far more than I ever thought. I've been going almost a year now. I didn't really know what yoga was. I made  a commitment to myself to not be a wimp in the evening after work, so I do yoga once a week, to balance three days of weight lifting, a few days of walking, and other seasonal sports. At first I started yoga to undo all the tightness caused by my weight training. I wanted to learn all the good stretches to do before my work-outs. Soon, I realized how good I felt after yoga. Sure, it was a challenge. My core sometimes feels like I've done too much (after Power yoga), but this last class, I went home feeling like every cell in my body was energized. I could feel the blood
flowing to ALL my cells. Really. It felt so detoxifying. I was looking forward to stretching tonight. Doing it on my own doesn't rally re-create the same good feeling as a structured class, but still good; Maintains it in between class.

Butterfly, has lots of variations, for me getting my hips and legs stretched in all different directions feels so refreshing. You don't even realize how tight you are until you give the simple moves a try.

I don't know why it is called pigeon, but it is really an opportunity to rest my mind as gravity takes over. I like the stretch on my hips. I like holding it.

the dreaded hamstring stretch

The dreaded hamstring stretch isn't hard for many active people. I classify myself as having poor ham string flexibility (but it's better since doing yoga). This stretch is even better than it was a few months ago. I don't like doing it. In many ways I find doing a back bend "easier" -- going in the other direction. I know most will disagree and prefer a ham stretch.
half wheel

In the past few weeks, I have noticed I could "measure" the progress more in yoga more than gains in strength training. This is what I mean. When I can bench 135 x 3 or 4 times, it is going to be a while before I can get the 5th rep or see an improvement on my one rep max. How much more do I really need to bench anyway? Same with squat. Although my 95- 100 pounds I squat, is probably just average for my size, I do go all the way down and I seemed to have plateau-ed off on gains.

What better way to work on fitness by cross-training.  I am conscious of holding that back bend as long as possible and straightening my arms. I also shift my weight from my hands to feet and feel the stretch. I am still new to yoga, so I feel improvements from week-to-week. I actually like doing the bend and the pigeon for all the good stretching and mind clearing. It seems I need all the warm-ups and prelude exercises before-hand to get in that back bend position. At first when I started yoga, I could not do a back bend. My boys would spot me and hold me up. I couldn't get my head down in pigeon when my mom first showed  me it in chatting about her class. It seems that each time, I can get my stretch a little more.  There is balance pose called crane that is still quite a challenge for me to find my balance point, but I think I am close to getting it.

I've mentioned on this blog that people with chronic pain, need to move.  Gentle yoga (hamstring stretch and butterfly) is a great place for you to start. If you tell me you can't do it (and don't have an apparent reason, like trauma and injury), I wouldn't be surprised if you have joint pain, muscle stiffness, restless legs, or whatever pain syndrome. You have to move.

I am doing Power Yoga Class at the Port Saint Lucie Civic Center on Tuesdays. Most of the classes offered are "Gentle" Yoga with Jenn Cohen ( I love her blog!) and a great place to start which is what I did. I got used to the routine and I think I have moved passed the benefits of the gentle yoga class, as I can do more complex positions (even with different options presented). I am participating in the "One" Power Yoga class the only time it is offered. Lots of options and levels are provided. Still, when I have a second, I plan on telling Jenn I need the next option in a few of the poses. Or maybe I will forget mentioning it to her. :) My instinct tells me that if I went to a Power or Flow Yoga at another gym, this particular power yoga is at an easier level. For one it is a 50 minute class, not an hour. That in itself tells me its a gentle-power yoga class. For me it has been an excellent way to ease into yoga. Don't be shy, come to yoga.

In all due respect to the gym, my son William, took the photos at Worlds Gym stretching after jog/walking tonight. It would be to disracting to me and class to have him come and bug me for photos.

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