Why Yoga: It’s National Yoga Month

077It’s National Yoga Month. Did you know that? Have you been? It’s late in the month, but what better time than NOW to start?

Before I go into why to yoga. Let me share my own yoga history. I have had a body/mind interest as long as I can remember. My love of portrait sketching, morphed into sports drawings, when I was in Middle School. I scouted and looked for the most inspiring sports pictures to draw. Some would call it an addiction. I would like to consider it dedication. At the same time I was playing multiple sports and lifting weights. My sister is seven years older than I am, while she was in high school we had a little weight-lifting area in our garage. I would venture out there. I pleaded with my dad to let me lift. He promised me when I turned 10, I could. The countdown began. I loved it. I was strong. I am strong, naturally. I love testing my body. Once I got to high school, my dad’s fitness business began growing…rapidly. But initially, I spent every summer tucked away in the garage, watching him instructing his clients. I lifted weights with the guys. Pushing. Always pushing what I thought I was capable of. In school I took every fitness center class I could fit into my schedule. I instantly stood out as the strongest female. I kept piling on plates. In college, I was dead-set on studying exercise science. Anatomy class, after anatomy class. I spent my summers in the gym, playing and lifting with the college players we had or the other guys. I was always eager to show that I was not to be underestimated. I am strong.

I am also intrigued by balance. Gymnastics is one of my favorite sports to watch. To me they seem to be one of the most well-rounded athletes. Strong. Powerful. Explosive. They had muscle endurance, as well as quick explosive strength. Flexibility. This one stuck with me. Flexibility. I always felt like some of the strongest, muscley guys lacked flexibility. You can’t touch your toes, that is a lack of functionality. What is the point of the bulk, if you don’t have a full range of motion? I watched guys kill it on strength moves in kettlebells, but struggle with windmills. Their stiffness, made me uncomfortable to watch. So I always inspired to be strong yet flexible and fast. I wanted health, where I could move and not be stiff. So I can pick up heavy objects. So I could hike for 10 hours a day and climb mountains with ease.

My senior year of college I took my first yoga class. I admit it was a joke to me. So I reverted back to studying Pavlov and finding kettlebell exercises geared towards flexibility. When we moved to Colorado I found a flyer for free trial classes at Corepower Yoga studio. Hmm….let’s give it a go. I loved it. I replayed what I learned in class over and over again. I practiced on my own. When I came back to Terre Haute I sought out classes. I dabbled in some studying. Every since, I go to class interspersingly. I practice home more often than in a class. But I keep local yogis on my feed. Waiting for opportunities. An equal player, i have tried many classes and instructors. We all have the same mission, right?

Last week, my yogi, market vending friend Cathy invited me to yoga in the park. I instantly checked the going selection. Then I crossed my fingers and prayed I’d be able to make it to a class, on a day that was packed with activities. I did! And I walked away that day, with several new yogi friends. That Is the thing I like about going to class. One I have someone to evaluate my form. Also I get a connection. A connection to a community of like-minded people. I am always down for expanding my tribe with positive people.

Why else? Why else practice yoga?

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  • Mind/body/spirit connection. I feel I have a greater awareness of not just my body, but my head space after a session. This in turn helps me when I am lifting kettlebells. Not only can I stretch and reach further (like in my windmill pictured above), but I am more aware of my body in space. I am more aware of HOW I am moving. Each rep which racks up to each set, is better because I am not just lifting, I am CONSCIOUS  of my movement.
  • Energy. Rejuvenation.
  • Peace. Serenity. De-stressing.
  • Better Posture
  • Intuition. This I find especially true. When I am connected to myself. I have a greater connection to my surroundings. To the universe. To others.
  • Breathing. Breathing is a big part of yoga, but learning to breathe is also important to other areas of your life.
  • Flexibility
  • Pain management. If my back is bothering me, I hit up a yoga class. Work that right on out.
  • Yoga poses are related to different systems of the body, so naturally it is said that yoga can be preventative or help with ailments in the body. To me I associate with the peaceful state as well and a decrease in inflammation because we tend to chronically exercise and stress, which inflame the body. We should then practice things that counterbalance the stress.
  • Blood circulation
  • Good for your lymphatic system
  • Positive impact on serotonin levels
  • Focusing on presence and mindfulness, of course sharpens the mind, which can be associated with better brain performance and reaction time.
  • Positive energy. Go to a yoga class and try to be grumpy afterwards

I love going to yoga for the positive vibes. It is not a competition. It’s about you and doing your best. SET AN INTENTION FOR EACH CLASS. Something personal. Listen to your body. What do YOU need? How do you feel today? Stretch only as far as you can. Don’t worry what your neighbor is doing. Dig deep and surrender to your mat, leave it all there.

2013-01-04Try it! Why not?!?! Also I really wanted to fill this page with awesome yoga poses, but again I think my own applied experience is best. Plus I am reading some Brene Brown, who is a pro on vulnerability. I feel incredibly vulnerable sharing pictures of my own dabblings. I am afraid of what others will say. That I’ll be critiqued on my form,…..etc. But yoga, life, is about sharing and vulnerability. Get yourself our there. Don’t judge or worry about being judged. Get out in the arena.

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