You Know You’ve Wondered: Is Yoga A Workout?

by TaylorR

Yoga and I have an interesting story, care to hear?

I haven’t always been a big fan of the practice. It wasn’t love at first sight, in fact, it wasn’t even like at first site.

I understood the benefits, yet every class I took made me feel like it just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t “my thing” so to speak.

Have I ever shared my very first yoga experience?

Breathing In I Call Myself… 

When I was about 15 or 16, I went on a camping trip with my friend and her parents. What we thought was a camping trip was really more of a hippy fest.

They offered morning yoga under this huge white tent. Since there was nothing else to do, and we wanted to try yoga, my friend and I decided to give it a go. I think we laughed our butts off the entire time. As we moved from pose to pose they would randomly have us throw our arms to the sky and chant

Breathing in I call myself, breathing out I smile.”

I smiled alright…

And then came the part when we had to lay on the ground, hug the earth and feel the warmth/ love that it gives off (did I mention it was about 40-degress?). There was no warmth and we felt way out of place.

That event has remained in my head for 15 years now. And to be honest, it put a distaste in my mouth for years and years.

Even after I decided to give yoga another try, I just wasn’t feeling it. Yoga was too slow, too easy, too not me.

But then things changed. Perhaps age, or perhaps knowledge, but I learned to chill out. I learned the benefits of yoga and knew that if I wanted to be all around well-trained I should embrace it.

So after several failed attempts I realized something…

Not all yoga is the same. It’s like finding a good pair of running shoes: you have to find the one that fits you best. What works for one person may not work for you.

My new obsession

I finally found that at my current studio, Yoga House Of Charleston. And that’s where our story ends and the new one picks up.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with 2 of my instructors, Fernando and Bethany to discuss yoga and get your questions (and mine) answered.

I know you’re going to love it! And yes, I do share the above story with them! And some how we even talk farts…

The Truth Of Yoga: You Think You Know But You Have NO Idea

Don’t have time right this second to listen in? Here’s a bit of what we covered…

Bethany and Fernando’s Yoga Stories: 

  • Bethany was actually suppose to go to law school. She moved to Charleston for a year and them decided to stick around and become a yoga teacher instead (I can relate!).

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  • Fernando was a fitness buff, working to get stronger and add on mass. At first he was put off by yoga, thinking it was for the ladies, until he saw this guy and realized how cool handstands are and how few people can actually do them. He’s a handstand bad ass and has found a passion for all forms of yoga.


Interesting Truths About Yoga:

Is yoga a workout program?

According to these two, no. It’s an awesome proponent of health and fitness but alone it’s not ideal. Just like runners should lift weights and do yoga… yoga should also be done along side cross training and cardio to get maximum benefits.

Do you sacrifice strength by working on flexibility?

This is a common idea, that to be flexible means you can’t be strong or to be strong you have to give up flexibility. It’s not the case at all. If you continue to work on strength and flexibility than both can be improved. Flexibility helps strength because you’re able to get full range of motion when doing the moves… which means you activate muscles!

What does a workout look like for a yogi?

Listen to find out!

What is the hardest thing to deal with when teaching yoga?

Dan has this fear of becoming a yoga teacher and having people farting in his class. It happens. We all have done it when working out at some point or another. So I asked them, how common is it? Their answer – very. But that’s not the worst thing about teaching: personal hygeine is. In a heated room, bad smells are amplified and when you’re in close contact with people like in yoga, they would appreciate you didn’t smell. Lol, I cracked up at this.

Why do some classes making you “OM”?

This is one thing I haven’t yet embraced. At the end of some classes, the teacher will have us breath deep and loudly “OMMMMM”. Why? According to Bethany, just like our moving muscles need to be stretched out (hamstrings, quads, shoulders, etc) so do our vocal muscles. There is a lot going on in there and they need some TLC from time to time too. She also says, don’t feel pressured. If you’re not comfortable yet, then don’t. With confidence and time you’ll embrace the OM, and if not, not biggie.

How does yoga impact your life outside of the studio?

Practicing yoga is simply the physical form of practice. Learning to be more patient, embracing the moments life has to offer, and being a bit more carefree are symptoms that both Fernando and Bethany have found.

We talked about so much that I really couldn’t possibly fit everything in to the show notes. If you have time, plug your headphones on and listen in. You won’t regret it.

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This was one of the most fun shows to do in a while when it comes to guests. I love talking to people and having the opportunity to talk face to face, in their environment was fabulous.

Thanks Bethany and Fernando!

What’s your yoga story? Don’t be bashful.

 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie February 18, 2014 at 9:43 am

I’m a yoga sculpt instructor and I agree that all yoga is different, but I would also encourage everyone to try a class at least twice (preferably 3 times) before you decide it isn’t right for you. I’ve had students take one class and think its too difficult for them. But I’ve had so many others that have come back for a second class and realized that they can do it! When your body is learning and doing at the same time, it takes a lot out of you, but once you understand the basics you can get more comfortable and then start playing and enjoying finding your limits!

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

Very true Katie. I say the same about my workout groups! Thanks for the reminder :)

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Christine @ Love, Life, Surf February 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

Oh I love this so much. I absolutely agree with Katie that all yoga is different and that you should give a class a few tries before giving up on it. And the truths? YES! It took me a while to embrace chanting Om but I love chanting in class now. It’s more about the vibrations and the connection across the room through the vibrations and sounds. Plus, you can totally feel and hear a change in the quality of your voice after yoga.

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I am slowly getting more confident with the OMs!

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Cassie February 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I had been blindly “om-ing” for the past two years with no reason why – love that it’s just stretching vocal muscles!

I do yoga 3-4 times a week (ideally) to keep myself from bulking up from running… I love it so much, I get so anxious when I don’t go for a few days. I do heated power vinyasa, so it definitely feels like a workout for me!

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I love heated vinyasa!

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Savvy Working Gal February 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I signed up for a series of yoga classes when I was in my 30′s. I went to maybe 3 classes before deciding it was too slow for me. In my 40′s I spent a year taking Pilates classes then to save money during the recession switched to cardio. I just started taking yoga again in January. I had foot surgery in the fall and am still a little leery of impact. I took a strength yoga class last week. I can’t believe what a hard workout it was. I left wishing I had taken yoga more serious way back when. I am not 51.

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Better finding it now, than never! Great job with the strength workout!

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Teri [a foodie stays fit] February 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm

new reader here! (Saw a link to this post on Twitter.) I loved this post because I used to struggle with “yoga isn’t a workout” syndrome, and now I love yoga! I practice 2-3x a week. I actually went to that studio a couple times a little over a year ago when I was visiting Charleston. It’s a beautiful space with talented instructors!

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for finding me! I was the same way. My husband just got back and now I have to admit I am jealous I didn’t get my yoga fix today!

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Abi@AbsofSteel February 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

yay, I can’t wait to listen to the new podcast. I started doing yoga around the same time I started exercising regularly and have been serious about doing it once a week for the past year or so.

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

It’s been the best addition to our own workouts! love it!

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lindsay February 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

when i couldn’t workout for 8 months, yoga was my sanity. Hot yoga and vinyasa. It actually made me stronger, from within too!

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TaylorR February 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I am sure it helped your rehab! Yoga is so great for keeping the mind healthy! It’s what I relied on too when my foot was out.

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables February 19, 2014 at 8:57 am

I honestly have never done yoga at a studio! I tend to get bored of it when I try to do it at home. Now, I really want to try a class!

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TaylorR February 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm

You should try!

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