Got pain? Skip the pills, try some yoga. An article posted on CNN.com this morning by senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen relayed the power of some classic yoga poses on common medical conditions. She quotes well known doctor Dean Ornish who tributes its benefits to lowered stress levels and whole body relaxation. “Your arteries begin to relax so there’s more blood flow everywhere, so everything is better.” Studies show that yoga can help everything from headaches to depression. So just how do you start a yoga practice? Like anything else in the fitness world, baby steps. Yoga can be an acquired taste for some. As a personal trainer whose favorite pastime is jumping up and down, I had a hard time initially realizing the positive in yoga. I spent my entire first class frustrated and wondering when we were actually going to do something. Instead of relaxing into the final meditation I rued my decision to take yoga instead of the make-you-vomit boot camp that was held at the same time. I was convinced that yoga was a crock (it had only been around for 1000’s of years, what did they know?). I went back to my apartment, poured myself a big glass of wine, and vowed never to take yoga again.
Flash forward a few years to an older, wiser (though some might debate that) woman. No longer searching for the miracle workout, I went back to yoga to supplement my current routine. Instead of focusing on attaining the famed “yoga butt” I released any and all expectations and took the class for what it was. I played the role of student instead of skeptic and was better off for it. It took a few classes, but now I am able to use yoga as a great tool to enhance my training routine as well as the routines of my clients. The breathing focus helps with cardio, the bodily awareness helps with strength training, the balance helps with neuromuscular control, and the focus and relaxation help with life in general. Never having been one to partake in massage frequently, I find that yoga relieves the muscular tension I so frequently build up. Performing yoga just 2x a week has been shown to produce the positive benefits mentioned above.
To get started, check out this article from Oprah’s favorite doctor Mehmet Oz about starting a yoga practice (I thought I might give them some much needed notoriety by putting this article on such a famous blog)
Seriously though, it’s a great little start up program. Give it some time, it will grow on you, and if that doesn’t work there is always that glass of wine….