York, North Yorkshire
Regular yoga practice has the impact on the body shape, energy levels and state of mind. Yoga can make you look and feel younger. It takes usually couple or more classes to feel the progress physically but the mental effect is immediate.
Your joints get the right level of movement they were designed for and you will feel mor
I AM NOT FLEXIBLE...
We are all different. We all have a natural tendency to be more bendy, loose in certain directions, or stronger in different parts and that is given by body shape and body frame or by regular activity. If we are not flexible overall it is because we don't stretch regularly. (I wouldn't be flexible either if I wouldn't be doing yoga)
The flexibility takes longer to achieve than strength but it is totally worthy. On the other hand do you really need to be superflexible? Or perhaps just a little bit will make you feel better
DO I NEED TO PRACTICE YOGA REGULARLY?
It is not just about yoga, but about any exercise.
If you don't practice for a few weeks or months the flexibility as well as the strength will disappear. Everything takes time and effort.
But the rounded back, or weakened muscles took also a few months to develop. Maybe you have scoliosis which gets worse each year... Standing all day on your feet, sitting all day, overly using one side - arm, leg, etc. We all know it. And that's body out of balance. Add a wrong diet, negative thinking, stress and the illness is here, too.
The great thing is - if you were fit in the past it si scientifically proven that the muscles have memory, so getting back will be faster for you compare to someone who never did any exercise. If you have never done any type of exercise I highly recommend starting with gentle and mindful yoga to ease your body into the regular movement.
Regular yoga practice has positive cumulative effect on the whole well-being.
WHAT ARE BENEFITS OF PRACTICING YOGA OUTDOORS?
Practising yoga outdoors is an entirely different experience. Very grounding.
Rather than shutting the world out and going inward you breathe yourself into your environment. You feel connected to everything. Steadiness comes from inhalations and exhalations. You are a part of nature.
Practising yoga barefoot on the grass gives an amazing feeling of grounding.
If you would like to organise some outdoor yoga session either just for yourself or a group of friends get in touch.
I HAVE PROBLEMS TO ESTABLISH A REGULAR YOGA PRACTICE...
Don't worry, it is like brushing your teeth - establishing good habits, healthy routines takes time. They usually say 3-4 weeks. First you will need some willpower but over the time it becomes a natural part of your life.
Also, it can be a daily part and then something happens and routine is gone. It happens to all of us. Just set yourself back on track and carry on as before.
Attending a yoga classes regularly is a good thing to keep you on the track, it brings you back to yourself and makes you crave more happy yoga feelings. Or book a private class to immerse yourself and tap into the yoga living more deeply.
IT SEEMS LIKE I CANNOT DO THE CHALLENGING POSES
Sometimes you look at the challenging pose and just try to do it, then give up after first attempt. But there is a lot of important steps, preparatory poses and alterations which build up towards the "goal" asana. If you are not ready you can hurt yourself.
It is better to go slow with teacher's guidance than just getting into a pose, sacrificing proper alignment which might eventually lead to injury.
I can guide you into pose but I am not gonna be breaking your limbs to get you into 'definition of perfect pose'. Everything takes time and little almost forgotten muscle groups need to be strong or supple enough to let you achieve desired accomplished asana. Your body might be flexible but not strong or the other way round. The ideal is both.
Too much weight lifting/muscle mass might limit your mobility and too much stretching won't give you the strength and support for joints.
Also yoga is not supposed to be a competition. (Although there started the yoga competitions but that's a topic for another time...)
I TRIED YOGA IN THE PAST BUT I DIDN'T LIKE IT
Maybe you tried the class which wasn't suitable for you. Too dynamic or too slow? Too advanced, too easy? Try a different teacher, different style, time of day. Give it another go. It's shame to be missing out on yoga.
If your job is mainly sitting I recommend more flowing vigorous type of yoga to lift up your spirit and energize you after work and if you are full of stress and anxiety you might benefit from more chilled relaxed class with mostly hatha yoga, gentle flows, relaxation and meditation.
Have you got more interesting yoga questions? Please, I would love to answer them.
I HAVE A LOT OF OLD INJURIES, CAN I DO YOGA?
I recommend consulting your doctor or physiotherapist before starting with yoga and perhaps getting ahead with a few private classes first to get tailored plan and specific to you adjustments.
Also, it is your own body, only you really know how far you can go without feeling a pain and straining yourself. Be mindful in everything you do. Including yoga. In a class whenever you need take a rest. Ideal is a child's pose or shavasana.
CAN I LOSE WEIGHT WITH YOGA?
Yoga will not make you instantly slim, but nothing will. No diet or exercise can change the body shape immediately. But yoga will heighten your awareness about what you eat, what you do, how you live and you will start to make healthier lifestylre choices... so eventually you will slim down regardless. Your muscles will become leaner and your body will get firmer and toned.
It is all about the willpower and determination; the will to change the daily routines for the better ones. Small little changes step by step are doable. For example:
1. attending yoga class
2. reconnecting with your body
3. loving your body whatever age and shape
4. making dietary changes slowly but steadily - implementing more fruit and vegetables in your diet, drinking more water
5. creating your mini daily yoga routine for either morning, evening or whenever you have even 5 minutes to spare; tuning into your mind and body means healthier life choices and that translates into shedding extra weight
6. attending more dynamic and sweaty classes will burn the calories
I PREFER GYM VISITS AND INTENSE WORKOUT...
Reconsider the yoga "gains" here:
*Yoga improves muscle imbalances caused by repetitive and high intensity training
Strengthens smaller muscle groups (often neglected by running, swimming and cycling)
*Improves alignment and coordination through the pelvis, knees and ankles and increases strength through the arches of the feet
*Brings awareness to areas of tension or resistance in the body
*Lengthens tight hamstrings to ease lower back pain in endurance races
*Develops long, lean muscles, improving flexibility and core strength
*Improves concentration, focus, determination and self-belief - mental qualities for competitive athletes!
*Helps you to find a deep relaxation to counterbalance an intense training schedule
Protects your joints by naturally lubricating them
IS THERE A SPECIFIC YOGA FOR RUNNERS?
Yes! Any yoga is actually great for runners. And there are specific poses absolutely wonderful for runners!
I have been there myself. From running almost every day for 30 mins to running three times weekly an hour and half to not running at all for months and again... various running obsessions. Trying different surfaces, shoes, running techniques, running on the treadmill and outdoors, pavement, grass, sand. Comparing, testing, trying. Getting injured.
Running is amazing but it shortens particular muscles and the regular runners often suffer from tight hamstrings, lower back pain, sore shoulders, runner's knee... not to mention many various joint problems.
Too much flexibility is not good as there would not be enough strong muscle mass support to protect the joints but you don't have to worry about getting too flexible because as a runner you are most likely to be very very tight by default.
Get your running partners together and include a special yoga program in your training schedule and see for yourself how yoga benefits your running. Get in touch to organise session.
** Studio images courtesy of Madeline Brunton Photography, outdoor photography by Roman Plavka
© Zenyogaliving, 2019