Although I’ve only been practicing yoga for a short time, I’ve grown to love every aspect of these types of workouts. The physical exercise, the mental clarity and the overall boosts to health and wellness are all reasons why I’ll remain a lifelong yoga practitioner.
However, I was a skeptic at first. I’d heard about yoga for years, but had shrugged off all its amazing advantages because, frankly, it was a little unbelievable that one could gain so many benefits from one simple workout. But since I was looking to switch up my fitness routine, I decided to go in with an open mind and give yoga a try.
My first yoga session was nothing short of fantastic. I attended yoga class at my local gym with a girlfriend who’d been practicing yoga for a few months. She’d been trying to get me to go with her since she’d started, and I finally relented. I was afraid that, as a beginner, I’d get left behind in a sea of seasoned pros, but I was wrong. Each pose could be modified depending on skill level, so I never felt awkward or left out. And the one thing that shocked me the most was that even though I was in a room full of people, I felt completely free and connected to my mind, body and soul.
Photo by BrittneyBush on Flickr
Even though I’d done a little research on the subject of yoga, there was still a lot I didn’t know. For example, I had no idea that breathing was so important to a yoga workout. Instead of huffing and puffing like I normally do during workouts, yoga taught me to control my breathing in order to optimize benefits to my body and mind. In yoga, deep, rhythmic breaths help to revitalize the mind and boost health to the body by improving the immune system .
Improved posture was another huge draw for me. I work at a desk all day and my posture definitely suffers as a result. Yoga helped to ease the chronic pain in my back and shoulders, and has also made me more aware of the way I position my body. Yoga lengthens the spine and builds lean muscle, both of which improve posture and relieve aches and pains. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Axelrod states, “Yoga is excellent for strengthening both flexibility and balance.”
Although I’ve been enthusiastic about fitness since I was a teenager, I definitely saw an improvement in my body after a few yoga sessions. My muscles were stronger and more defined, and I also experienced less soreness than I had with strength workouts in the past. Yoga also works muscle groups that are often neglected, such as the lower abs, the sides and the glutes. With yoga workouts, I feel like I’m targeting my entire body. I feel longer, leaner and definitely stronger.
In the few weeks that I’ve been practicing yoga, my confidence has soared to new heights. I feel better, I look better and I get sick less often. And not only has my outer appearance changed for the better, but my mental state has improved tenfold. My stress levels are at an all-time low and I have an overall sense of well-being that can only be attributed to yoga and all its amazing benefits. My only regret is that I’d opened my mind to yoga years ago.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid spinner, healthy cooking enthusiast and lover of life. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!