Do you work out, but continue to feel stressed out?
As a busy mom of three girls, I typically awake to a little chaos and drama right from the start. My personal scenario goes a little like this (maybe this will sound familiar to you, as well):
Our youngest is upset about the lunch I’ve prepared for her because I failed to cut the crust off the sandwich. The middle daughter used the last of the milk, leaving her sisters without any, so they all begin to bicker about the milk being gone..and it’s all downhill from there.
My oldest forgot to mention that I need to pick up a neighbor kid from school. Or maybe today it’s that she needs a poster board for her second class period, and could I ‘please deliver the poster board before 9:30 a.m.‘? By the time I get all the kids off to school I am already mentally drained.
While your morning scenario may not start off exactly like mine, young or old, male or female, we all have some type of stress that puts our body in an unhealthy state, which can lead to potential health problems. I’ve found it beneficial to dedicate two days a week to yoga.
By adding a little “Ommmm” to my vocabulary it has helped me manage daily life stressors and have a sense of wellbeing. You might consider hitting the yoga mat and adding a little Ommm to your life!
Introduction to Yoga
Yoga asanas combine pranayama, or breath with movement, which guides the mind and body to synchronize with one another. This enhances flexibility, posture, balance, and muscle strength.
As we age, our bodies lose range of motion which can lead to a loss of mobility and chronic pain. Yoga improves and maintains flexibility through postures and weight-bearing poses such as Plank, Downward Facing Dog, and Warrior II. These postures are held for several breaths creating muscular strength, endurance, and stability in the body.
Yoga teaches individuals how to maintain an elongated spine which improves posture and deep breathing. Many people tend to slump throughout the day working on computers. Poor posture only allows an individual to take shallow breaths.
Try this at home or at work – slump and count your inhale through the nose. Maybe you were able to breathe in one or two breaths. Now stand or sit tall with an elongated spine and count your breath. Were you able to count higher? Deep breathing cause muscles to relax, improves oxygen delivery to the body and reduces blood pressure. Endorphins are released into the body causing an improved wellbeing.
If you’re younger you may not consider balance to be an important function of your body. Unfortunately, as a person ages, the ability to balance deteriorates putting individuals at risk for falls and injuries. Do you know anyone who has fallen and broken a hip? Good balance helps prevent injuries. Later in life, your body will thank you for practicing yoga balance postures!
As a runner, I utilize yoga as a cross-training exercise because running tends to create muscular skeletal body imbalances. Running utilizes the Sagittal plane (forward and backward movement) in the lower body. Yoga postures utilize multiple planes which creates strength and flexibility in the entire body. Additionally, doing yoga has increased upper body strength that is neglected during running.
Basic Yoga Postures and Their Benefits
- Plank postures strengthen the core muscles, wrists, and hands. Plank pose also utilizes the glutes creating a toned bum.
- Warrior II benefits the body because it stretches hips, shoulders and the groin area. If you have tight hips consider Warrior II as your new best friend.
- Downward Facing Dog strengthens the upper body (arms and shoulders) and lengthens the hamstring and calf muscles in the lower extremities. A key element of Downward Facing Dog pose is that it brings blood flow to the brain creating energy and mental clarity.
- Whatever your age, I encourage you to practice yoga balance postures such as Tree, Warrior III (and the variation of it with arms spread out like wings, known as Airplane pose). These poses can be done in the kitchen holding onto the counter for support, living room utilizing the couch for support, or holding onto a wall.
Consider trying out a yoga studio. One of my personal favorites in Frisco is Yoga on Main. They offer classes for a novice or advanced yoga student. For a novice student, the studio provides gentle yoga teachings, proper posture alignment, and breathing techniques. For an advanced yoga student, I recommend their Vinyasa Yoga Flow that is taught in a warmer environment. This type of yoga flows from one posture to the next at more advanced pace.
After catching one of these classes I leave feeling calmer and refreshed. Yoga on Main offers many classes to accommodate even the busiest Frisco resident. It’s relatively inexpensive to start and will not break the bank – another bonus!
What are you waiting for? Hit the yoga mat and add a little Ommm to your life!