Pinch punch, first of the month…Happy July guys! Seven weeks ago, I posted that I wanted to change up my workout routine, mainly because I felt mentally drained out with lifting weights. Since then, yoga has been a key component of my workouts. I started off with doing a weekly session, but lately it has been 2 to 4 sessions per week. For someone who once couldn’t handle more than 20 minutes of yoga without feeling antsy or like it wasn’t a “good enough” workout, I’m still pleasantly surprised with how much I look forward to and enjoy each class.
I don’t need to tell you the benefits associated with yoga. A quick Google search will wrack in various results touting yoga as an all-encompassing exercise. However I thought I’d share the personal benefits I have experienced:
- My progress is not quantifiable: There are no calorie counters involved in yoga and I don’t wear a heart rate monitor during classes (or ever). I am not worried about the amount of weights lifted, distance or speed run. As motivating as numbers can be, it’s liberating to just focus on myself and the pose at hand. I think this might be the first time I’ve solely gauged my workout progress in qualitative measures i.e. i.e. how my body feels during and just how much I can push it.
- Increased appreciation for low-intensity workouts: I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fallen into the mindset that exercise has to leave you feeling tired, sore, or breathless to be effective. Especially when you’re in a routine of exercising to those limits regularly, it’s easy to think that cutting back will translate into weight gain or decreased fitness levels. Fortunately I’ve only experienced positive effects. I’m still fit, but now that’s more in terms of flexibility than strength or endurance. As for appearance, my jeans are actually fitting better but I know that’s also to do with me making a conscious effort with what I’m eating.
- Newfound respect for my body: Whether it’s running a certain distance, hitting a new PR in the weights room or making any other kind of fitness-related progress, it’s amazing to see what limits your body is capable of after a few weeks of training. I’ve always been able to touch my toes, but have over the weeks uncovered flexibility I couldn’t imagine before. While I’m yet to be able to do poses like a headstand or crane pose, they no longer seem impossible.
Exercise is very personal and it ultimately comes down to finding a routine which works for you. Rather than put yoga on a pedestal, I hope that my post will be of some help, especially to others who want to take up yoga and are unsure what to expect beyond increased flexibility.
Are you a fan of yoga?
What’s has been your preferred form of exercise lately?