Please join me in welcoming Jess, personal trainer and yoga teacher, from Hello To Fit.
If you ask me when I began practicing yoga, I’ll say almost 10 years ago. If you ask men when I REALLY started practicing yoga, I’ll say last summer.
After gentle prodding from my yoga teacher, I committed to a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. Why was I reluctant at first? Yoga has been a huge part of my life since graduating from YTT and its benefits have branched out to other parts of my life, including balancing my fitness.
Finding MY Yoga
Lets face it. Everyone’s yoga experience will be personal and different, even though we may all be in the same class, or viewing the same yoga lesson on YouTube. When I first started to practice, but not “really” practice I was looking for flexibility, and not much else. The type of yoga I did, more of a Hatha style class, was sufficient, but not exactly what I needed.
Flash forward to last summer, where my studio and the YTT were centered around power vinyasa. Boom. I found my yoga jam. In my younger yogi years I was just going through the motions. A new yogi learning how important it was to connect breath with movement, and to view the practice as more of a moving meditation. Yoga is now a way for me to clear my head, stay positive and be a better human being.
3 Ways Yoga Has Balanced My Fitness
When the goodness of my yoga practice started to seep out into other parts of my life namely, my health and fitness it took me by surprise. Yoga has helped me with stress relief, facing new challenges, and improving my core strength.
Yoga, the Ultimate Stress Relief
By connecting movement between poses with breath, I’m learning to get out of my head on “onto the mat”. It’s not foolproof, but when I can focus on those two things rather than the lengthy todo list waiting for me at home I can feel a sense of RELEASE. Stress relief, not giving a crap about things that don’t need it, and focusing more on that quality metime.
A New Mindset for Challenges
Yoga helped me gain the strength and confidence it takes to work up to a headstand, crow, and handstand. So far, I’ve accomplished two out of the three! Handstands still scare me.
Generally one to either, a) avoid huge challenges, or b) tackle them with too extreme caution, yoga has taught me to do less thinking, more moving. So what, if I can’t do a handstand yet? I’m getting close, as seen in the below hover for 2.930 seconds! The lesson learned was to take baby steps, and work my way up into whatever feels right at the time.
Core Strength and Endurance
In order to prevent injury and “get the most” out of a pose, proper core work is necessary. Through my yoga practice, I’ve felt an increase in core strength and endurance! I’m able to hold planks and strength poses for longer, and I don’t feel as fatigued. This directly transfers over to the fitness floor; I’m finding that my deadlifts and squats are performed with better form, and I can take it up a notch with TRX exercises.
Yoga Can Help in More Ways Than You Think
Once you begin your yoga journey, there is a chance that you won’t be able to stop traveling on said journey. I never thought I’d say this, but practicing yoga has helped me with BOTH my fitness and physical/mental health. When I can get to my mat and out of my head, yoga offers stress relief. By working towards a new pose, I’m learning to accept challenges and to face them headon. By tuning into the muscles I’m working in a practice, I’m able to strengthen my core. When it’s all said and done, yoga has changed my fitness for the best.
In case you missed the first post celebrating Yoga Week at Jill Conyers | Fitness, Health & Happiness:
- 5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers by Beth from Sublimely Fit
DON’T MISS MORE GREAT POSTS COMING TO CELEBRATE YOGA WEEK:
- Yoga inspiration and quotes to Live Your Yoga
- Running and Yoga: The Perfect Pair from Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home
- What Is Your Yoga Style?
- What Yoga Teacher Training [or maybe just Yoga] Has Taught Me
How do you balance your fitness for physical and mental strength?
Jess is an ACSM certified personal trainer and yoga teacher in Charlottesville, VA.
Through her personal training and blogging, she hopes to share her experiences with living a balanced lifestyle: a lifestyle that includes an emphasis on strength and core training, moving as much as we can for health, while also enjoying those moments of indulgence.