For the past 3 years I have dabbled in yoga. Going to a class here or there, doing a dvd workout of Rodney Yee with Dan when we thought about it. But for the most part, I didn’t see it as a necessity to my training.
At that time, yoga to me was a workout style, like Barre, cycling, Crossfit, etc. Hollywood scarlets were (and are) giving yoga credit for their tight bodies and making it seem as if it was the only workout that they were doing to stay in shape.
I was naive to say the least. I wasn’t about to give up my lifting, running or Hiit workouts to join the yoga band wagon.
Fast forward a few years, and now things have changed.
Perhaps it’s having friends (like her and her) that are awesome yoga instructors who helped to clarify things, perhaps it was Dan’s growing passion for the practice, or perhaps it was waking up with crazy tight muscles and knowing that things weren’t “right”.
Whatever it was, yoga is now a central part of my training.
But to me it still isn’t a workout… I am not going to skip a strength session and replace it with yoga and call it an even trade off. It’s not.
Instead, I think of yoga as a partnership. It pairs perfectly with all training to help improve the body and mind. Does that make sense?
With that I want to talk about why I have added yoga (more specifically stretching) into my life and why you might want to think about it as well… if you’re not doing it already!
Now I know what you’re thinking… Taylor, I already know it’s good for you!
Sure you do, but here are 10 reasons that might just get you to sign up for that community class! Reasons to take action!
10 New Reasons To Add Yoga/Stretching To Your Life
Go To The Bathroom.
I’m not trying to be crude, but studies have shown that nearly 29% of women battle chronic constipation! Being blocked up is never fun. Many moves in yoga involve twisting and bending both of which help to get the intestinal muscles moving.
Time To Reflect & Get Smarter
Since starting yoga, I have finally had time to stop and reflect on life. To find balance.
We all know that we should take 10 minutes each day to close our eyes and meditate, but with the hustle and bustle of life, let’s face it that just doesn’t happen frequently. Having that hour to focus on life is gratifying experience.
Even just 10-20 minutes of stretching on your bedroom floor will help to slow life down to find your mental sanity.
Speaking of mental sanity, 20 minutes of yoga has shown to stimulate brain function. It helps you to concentrate, perform better, and stay productive. Perhaps all offices should offer a lunch time yoga session?
Okay, so you won’t actually grow taller but stretching helps to strengthen the core, let tension go in the back and shoulders so that your posture can improve quite dramatically.
If you’re able to stand up straighter (and without pain) with your head held higher so that you may literally see yourself 1-2 inches taller!
Have you ever noticed that with age people shrink? It’s because of poor posture, so stand tall.
Get Faster, Stronger, Leaner
I consider myself a pretty strong person. But let me just say, holding a warrior pose for any amount of time will have my legs shaking in no time.
Holding a stretch helps to increase strength to help yield toned muscles which helps to increase overall metabolism which then of course helps you to lean out.
Add in the cardio and cross training and your results will skyrocket.
It’s “Rest” But Not Really
The other day I talked about the butt disease. We all need to move more. Well, stretching counts!
One your off days when you’re not feeling a workout or even a walk, you can still get in a great stretching session to help your body recover. The good news is that you can do yoga when you’re sore or even on the same day as a workout. Making it easy to fit in.
The upside is that while it’s rest, it’s active rest… the goal we’re striving for!
Everyone Can Do It, So No Excuses
Anyone can stretch. It’s low impact and doesn’t require a single piece of equipment. Joints bothering you? Then stretch. Having muscle pains or twinges? Chances are it’s due to tight muscles/ligaments… so stretch.
Yoga/stretching can help everything from headaches to knee pain.
In fact, when it comes to pain management, yoga is one of the most cost efficient treatments as proven in a study carried out in England. As a back pain sufferer, I can say it has made a huge impact on my day to day life.
The study noted above, actually found that people who participate in regular stretching take fewer days off due to back issues.
Get A Better Squat.
Have you ever seen someone do low squats and wonder how they do it? How are their heels staying on the ground? How is their butt coming so low to the ground? How are they able to keep their heads looking straight ahead?
So many exercises come down to flexibility and spending time stretching the hips, back, quads, and hamstrings can make a huge difference for range of motion.
Runners may be great at running but they are often plagued with muscle imbalances leading to them sucking at other forms of exercise… harsh but true.
Stretch! You’ll see almost immediate changes to your range of motion.
Help Shaking, Camping Muscles.
Muscle spasms and sudden cramps (Charlie horses) stink, so why deal with them?
Stretching helps to elongate the muscles, helps them to relax, and keeps them flooded with nutrient rich blood. These three factors come together to help ward off cramps and spasms.
As mentioned above, stretching helps to increase blood flow to the muscles. Flood flow is a key indicator of recovery.
For example, ligaments and tendons don’t receive much blood flow (which is why they’re white) and therefore recover slowly. Muscles on the other hand are very rich in blood and can heal quite quickly.
Help speed up recovery even more by adding stretching into your life! Of course make sure it’s okay with your doctor as stretching too soon after an injury can also cause damage but if you get the green light that help your muscles with stretching.
I think this was a big part of why my foot was able to heal as quickly as it has (still recovering). From the pain I initially felt, I thought I was going to be on a stationary bike for months! Luckily it was just weeks, and the calf stretches are helping on a daily basis.
Michael Jordan has credited consistent stretching to his ability to be a professional athlete way beyond the limits of most. If it’s good enough for Mike, it’s good enough for me!
Perhaps the best benefit of stretching/yoga is learning more about your own body.
We often rush though everything, push through pain, and hardly give our twinges a second thought.
Spending time stretching allows you to become aware of your own body… what hurts, what feels great, what do you need to work on?
When you’re in tuned with your body, you’re able to give it what it needs.
As an athlete, I used to ignore aches and pains and just do what I thought I needed. Now, I know my body. I know what it can and can’t do. I know when I need to back off or when I can go harder.
It takes time to know your body, even though we’re with it 24 hours a day.
Stretch and spend time learning how it moves and how it feels.
Now I have to know…
Do you stretch? Do you do yoga?
What’s your favorite stretch or yoga move?
Personally, I love the reverse warrior. Feels oh so good!