Why I Recommend Yoga - Cindy Haxel - 2015-11-16
Why I recommend yoga to so many of my clients
I see a lot of very athletic people...either professional athletes or just serious amateurs. Most of them focus so much on the energy and dynamics of their sport of choice that they forget to 'round out' their physical activity. Yoga is great at doing that! It strengths and lengthens the muscles and the postures can balance opposing muscle groups.
I see a lot of people who have a *ton* of stress! Yoga is amazing for bringing you back into your body, into the 'now', into a state of stillness that can completely alleviate the affects of that stress in one 1-hour class!
I see people who are in the process of making huge changes in their life – giving up an addicting behavior, working to lose weight, trying to get out of that above mentioned stressful job – and Yoga is a perfect way of assisting with those changes. During each yoga class you are put into a position of deciding whether it’s time to challenge yourself a little more than you did the last class or being ok with where you currently are in a posture – a perfect parallel for what’s going on in life!
I see people who are getting older – actually, now that I think about it, I can’t think of a single client who isn’t :-) – and yoga is a great way of maintaining strength and flexibility as time marches on around us!
Of course there are many benefits to yoga! If you’d like to see a nice list here’s one place to start: Yoga Benefits
Men's Yoga - Gary Reitze - 2015-10-22
Why don’t more men do yoga? I wish I knew. Maybe because men are doers. We want to fix things. Men who are the active, outdoor type that live in Colorado may think they need to train more. No time to stretch – how can that help?
Yoga is about sitting around with crystals, chanting and burning incense isn’t it? No, wait a minute - it’s about sweating in an overheated room straining to get better than everyone else in the class. Right? Yes and no. Mainly no. Yoga is likely not what you think. There is a yoga out there that right for what you want and need.
Why do I do Iyengar Yoga? Because I was injured and broken, I needed the details, the alternatives, the props, and the precise instruction. It fixed me – no, I fixed myself. You can too!
What is perhaps the biggest problem with yoga for men? It works slowly. Sometimes progress is barely perceptible. We want results, right guys? That’s the bad news – and the good news. With yoga progress is slow, but it can make permanent changes over a relatively long time. But come on man – not that long! Let me throw in some encouragement here. Give yoga 2 minutes a day – everyday. I’m not asking for a big commitment here. Just take the time to go to a class, find a teacher you like, and ask them what 2 poses would be best for your body. I think you’ll find what I did. I said I would do a little practice everyday for a few months. You know, give it a little time. I didn’t think it would work. But I think you’ll find what I did – Yoga Works! For men!
What the biggest benefit I got from yoga? It taught me – it will teach us all, anyone – to make more conscious choices about any aspect in our lives.
My Yoga Journey: From Yoga Skeptic to Yoga Devotee - Chris Landberg - 2015-10-12
Yoga, for me, has become a way of life and is about life and health. That may sound kind of trite, so let me explain:
When I was in college, my school offered a “winter term”; basically, we had the month of January to explore our interests, participate in adventures, do an internship, or anything else you could think of. During my first winter term, I decided to stay on campus and increase my exposure to campus life. I signed up for 2 weeks of self-defense and 2 weeks of yoga. To be honest, I figured it was a great time to hang out with very little pressure or expectations. I approached the yoga class with that perspective – my only memory is doing a tripod headstand, nothing more, nothing less. Sad but true. I had 2 weeks to immerse myself in yoga, but I did not see it as a sport, or personal improvement opportunity, and so I just attended, did what I had to do, and walked out every day at noon. No harm, no fowl
Some 15 or so years later, I received a book about yoga and my immediate first thought was “this person does not know anything about me. I am an athlete, I need a great sweat to get a good workout, and a hard run/spin/boxing class to get a rush of endorphins to feel good; yoga does not qualify as a work out.” It went to the book shelf and again, I passed on yoga.
Years later, some Yogi must have been communicating with me telepathically, because I needed a change in my program and after my first knock down, drag out fight with my new husband, I took one of those “easy” yoga classes at a gym. Well, imagine my surprise when I was dying during the class. I mean, I knew that I was lacking in flexibility (and even referred to myself as having no flexibility), but the strength that was being required of me was out of this world. I had competed in fitness competitions, been a weight lifter, and aerobic instructor with great results, but those damn crazy push ups were killing me! I dabbled a bit more, but honestly, it was just too hard.
Ten years ago someone told me about Bikram Yoga. Now that sounded more like it. Sweating is good, right? What I didn’t know at the time is that the Bikram philosophy is more akin to “no pain, no gain” and “do it our way or not at all”. Many of the poses were really difficult for me and I was looking for a community to connect with, not a drill sergeant to yell at me. I kept at it for a few months, willing myself to like it, but it just wasn’t happening. Unfortunately, I left those classes feeling defeated by the “inability to do it right” in the eyes of the teacher; my husband pointed out to me that I was really down when I came home after class, and I didn’t even realize it. I just thought it was because I couldn’t do it the way they wanted me to. So, in the end, the Bikram philosophy was not right for me. Again, I halted my pursuit of yoga.
Fast forward to 7 years ago. I knew I needed to find more balance in my life, but hadn’t found “the answer” yet. At about the same time, I decided it was time to try this yoga thing again. I had been learning more about it, and thought that it would be good for me, spiritually and physically. I went to a local studio and fell in love with a teacher who taught all of the traditional poses, but who is an athlete and taught a boot camp style class. I actually went to 5:30 am class 5 days a week, travel permitting, for 1 ½ years. I also found better life balance during this time, threw myself into a new role at work that was exciting and fulfilling, and started playing tennis again for the first time in 15 years.
Can I say that yoga was “the answer” to any of my issues? No. However, I found an inner yogi in myself and all other areas of my life improved dramatically, even my flexibility! It seemed that it was the connection to something bigger than myself that opened the world up for me. Unfortunately, I fell off of the yoga wagon for a couple of years, due to an outside influence – the owner of the studio made drastic changes to her staff and fired the instructor that I loved. Instead of seeing what it would mean to me to continue practicing, I took the “whoa is me” philosophy and quit going to that studio. I did not find another that I loved, or teacher that I loved as much, so I harmed myself by walking away. Another lesson learned.
In November of 2014, I learned that my job was being restructured, and after 25 years with the same company, I opted to take the early retirement package. I had been trying to recommit to yoga, so Teacher Training seemed like the most logical step. I would have the luxury of time to commit to it, and it would tie in well with my interest in being a Health Coach.
I signed up for the 200 hour program at CorePower Yoga, a locally owned, but nationally available, yoga studio. For 8 weeks, I was committed to Wednesday night and Saturday sessions, to learn from some of the best, and with an amazing group of people. Completion of the program requires each participant to take 45 classes along the way. In the beginning, even the level 1 class was hard. There were times when I asked myself what I was thinking - could my 50 year old body handle this, and would I see an improvement in my stamina, power, balance, flexibility, etc. But, at the end of classes, and more so as time went on, I felt taller and more accomplished than when I entered the class. Yoga is not a sport (is it a sport?- maybe that is for another article) where you should not compare yourself to others. But looking around the rooms, I see students of all shapes and sizes, ages, races, and physical ability and it has become very clear to me that yoga IS a real workout, complete with sweat, stimulation of endorphins, for some a spiritual journey, and a bonding of athletes and non-athletes alike. And incidentally, my tennis game improved.
So what is the moral of the story? Ask yourself the following:
1 - What have you dismissed in the past that might actually be worth looking at again?
2 - Have you dismissed something that might actually be good for you? Truthfully, even yoga done too often or incorrectly, is not good for you. But, have you dismissed something that could be good for you without giving it a fair try?
3 - Have you walked away from something that was good for you in the past, and that you enjoyed? Life happens and for various reasons, we may find that we have moved away from an activity that we found to be fulfilling years ago. What might that be for you?
4 - What did you get out of a past activity that would be helpful, healthy, energizing, calming, etc. today?
5 - What one thing will you choose to do tomorrow that you didn't do today? Take a baby step –ask others about things they do, read and research, examine your community and pick one thing that will “feed” you in some way that your body and/or mind needs.
6 - Try it for a month – consistently. Put it in your calendar and hold yourself to your plan with an open mind and journal about this new experience. At the end of the month, you'll be amazed by what you will learn from your writings.
Honestly, you might learn that you don't want to keep doing it. But that's OK! If that's the case, learn from the good and the bad, and move on to another thing. Perhaps you just need to tweak the experience and move forward, or maybe it was great as it was. You have the power to make anything what you want and need it to be, if you just allow yourself to do so.
So all in all, my journey has helped me realize that I need to be less judgmental, and more open to those things of which I know little about. Had I done that at the ripe old age of 18, who knows where I might have landed.
So yes, Yoga, for me, is about life and health.