What is a Great Body?
Everyone has a different definition of what makes a great body. My definition is pretty simple. A great body is one you feel good walking around in (your muscles aren’t tight, you aren’t in pain, you feel strong, etc.) as well as a body that can actually DO stuff! If that’s your definition of a great body too, yoga can absolutely help you get it. If you don’t care about how your body feels or what your body can do and you just want to look good well, yoga can even help you with that.
Yoga Helped Me Get Out of a Fitness Rut
I’ve been incorporating elements of yoga into my personal workouts, my workout video and the fitness classes I’ve taught for years now, but it’s really only this past summer that I started to get serious about doing yoga on a regular basis.
After my hip surgery (for femoral acetabular impingement and an acetabular labral tear) I had a significant amount of pain not only in my hip, but also in my back and down the entire back of my leg (sciatica). The pain was not only interfering with my workouts but it was interfering with my day to day life and making me super crabby and very irritable. I was also starting to dread my workouts since I knew the workouts would be painful…and nine times out of ten my hip felt worse after exercising. To say I was in an exercise rut is a total understatement. For cardio I had started fitness hooping (which is an amazing no-impact cardio workout that tightens your waist and is also a lot of fun…you can learn the basics of how to hoop HERE and see some additional exercises you can do with a hula-hoop HERE). I had also tried pilates with my good friend Trisha Hardin (and I absolutely LOVED her pilates lessons!) but I had the hardest time ever keeping my appointments. I really just needed to find something new, something I enjoyed and something I could do at home.
Anyway, over the summer I was traveling a lot and had the free time to take some different yoga classes while on vacation. The first class I took I left feeling looser, calmer and more focused than I have felt in a long, long time. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not very good at meditating or that sort of thing, so I don’t do the type of yoga where you sit on a sticky mat and say “Ommmmm”. I’m not saying that type of yoga isn’t good…I’m just saying it’s not the type I do.
What I do is a mish-mash of yoga that works for me. I now have a variety of fabulous yoga videos (Tara Stiles, Karen Voight, P90X, Baron Babtiste, Bryan Kest, etc.) and I’ve taken elements from videos and classes I’ve taken and sort of made a yoga workout that’s all my own. You can watch my yoga workout in the video below.
Video: Ivy’s Simple Yoga Exercises
Yoga for Total Body Fitness
I’m so into yoga these days that it’s basically the only exercise I’m doing at the moment. I do it three days a week as a 30 minute workout plan and sometimes I do it as long as an hour. My son goes to football practice two nights a week and I occasionally walk around the field for exercise on those nights but mostly I just do yoga. I’m not saying yoga is the only exercise I will ever do ever again…it’s just that right now I’m really, really into it.
I thought I was strong before I started yoga but I’m absolutely stronger now. In fact, I feel better than I have felt in years. I had neglected flexibility exercises for a while now but yoga fuses strength training with flexibility into one workout that really does make you feel amazing. I don’t wake up with pains anymore, my back no longer hurts and I just feel really, really good. I’m even…dare I say it?…a wee bit calmer But seriously, you will feel calm and centered after doing yoga. I’m not kidding.
And one thing is for sure, I no longer dread my workouts. I actually look forward to them because I feel good while I’m doing them and I feel good when I’m done. On top of that, I can honestly say no other workout leaves me feeling as energetic as yoga makes me feel. And there’s no excuse either because you can do yoga anywhere! If you are looking for ways to workout at home…yoga is it!
So, if you’ve never tried yoga I urge you to give it a go. If you’ve tried it before and you didn’t think it was for you maybe my version will click for you. Just remember, you don’t have to perfect the poses and it’s not about straining or stressing yourself. Just do what feels good, push yourself a little but not too much and remember to breathe through your nose. Try to focus and “stay in the moment.” And definitely let me know how it goes!