Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yoga and Me

Yoga and Me is a documentary film which explores the psychological benefits of yoga. Yoga teachers from around the world share their personal journeys to show how the ancient teachings of yoga can be applied to modern day life. Feel free to check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bpvp7rruOvQ

And the website to purchase the film on DVD: http://www.nileyoga.com/dvd.html

While I am not a renowned yoga instructor like those in the video, I took up yoga as part of my life. I started doing yoga just over two years ago. It initially was a health kick that myself and my two roomies started together while in university – waking up at 6am, changing into our workout clothes, and doing yoga to one of the multiple DVD’s we’d purchased. As it turned out, I was the only one to stick with it. Two months into the semester, their schoolwork/programs were far more time consuming than mine, and I was soon the only one waking up at the crack of dawn to get my yoga on and my endorphins going. As it turned out, yoga was also a wonderful part of my recovery from G.A.D. (generalized anxiety disorder.) It was a great way to de-stress not only my body, but my brain.

I currently have a membership at the YMCA, which as it turns out offers yoga classes nearly every night of the week. I go to the Yogafit classes (which are far more of a workout) and to the regular Yoga classes (which are focuses more on mindfulness, relaxation and very exotic twisted positions of the body). I encourage everyone who has not tried yoga yet to give it a shot. Admittedly I know very few guys who do it, which I assume is because they are less flexible. I have always been a pretty flexible person, despite having never taken gymnastics or the like.

There were/are a lot of reasons I love yoga:

1) The cost: a mat is around $30 and assorted DVD’s are between $7-$15 depending on the length and where you purchase them. It’s not a huge monetary investment to start doing yoga at home. A membership to a yoga studio however can be considerably more costly (between $100-$135 monthly for unlimited sessions from what I’ve seen)

2) Low intensity: Yoga is gentle, fluid and not stressful on joints and ligaments. I have never been a huge fan of running for this reason – it’s hard on my knees. In my classes, the ages of participants stretch from people in their twenties to ladies in their fifties and older.

3) Multi-purpose: Yoga is multiple workouts rolled into one – it helps your flexibility, core strength, and cardiovascular system as well as including meditation.

4) Time commitment: in a busy world, with a to-do list the length of my arm, making time to workout and exercise is difficult. But even 30 minutes of yoga makes you feel like a million dollars.

5) Self-awareness: Yoga incorporates mediation and focus on breathing as part of its practice. This might just be my favourite part. After a workout, the relaxation of the body is overwhelming and is pure bliss. You become not only more aware of your body but of your place in the world. Yoga really is an inspirational journey.

6) Variety: from Hatha yoga to Hot yoga, the discipline has a wide range of styles and positions, which prevent it from becoming boring. Switch it up! Try a new class!

7) Results: within a month I noticed the results of practicing yoga. There was less tension in my muscles and my mind was more at peace. I was also considerably more flexible and lost about 10lbs. My clothes were all looser, and I went down a size at Lululemon.

8) Lack of equipment: other than yourself and your mat, there really isn’t anything else you need. You use your own body weight to strengthen, balance and tone during your practice. You don’t even need to wear shoes!

I’m not going to lecture you on the benefits of yoga – there are thousands of websites out there already for that. Plus it’s always nice to be surprised by the results of something new. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try something new! Happy Yoga-ing! :D

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