I have to admit. Yoga use to be a purely physical activity for me to increase flexibility and core strength. I didn’t understand any of the other stuff. During the Pranayama breathing I would usually be looking around the room checking out other girls gym gear, while in Savasana I was asleep or thinking about food. And god! The chanting!!!! I had no time for that crap. I just wanted to get bendy.
I thought the yogic lifestyle was some crazy religion! I didn’t understand the mental benefits of yoga and had zero appreciation for any of it. However, I was totally noticing a change in my head space. Even though I wasn’t actually concentrating through the majority of the classes. I was becoming much less stressed with work, and finding myself feeling more content with life in general! Not only that I was getting stronger in the gym. My range of movement was increasing massively and I wasn’t getting so sore post workout.
I wanted to learn more about yoga. I wanted to find appreciation for the other elements of yoga not just the physical postures, and learn how it can benefit my life!
When arriving in India I was in for a shock. On my first day a fire ceremony was organised to welcome the new students to the course. This consisted of a lot of chanting, prayers and singing around a fire. Coconuts were burnt to represent heads to release negative energy and we were called up one by one to throw rice and ghee on the fire. I sat in shock thinking ‘what the hell is this crazy cult I have come into…’.
After a few days I totally settled in and learnt to embrace this new lifestyle. Meditation was always a struggle though. It was scheduled just before breakfast every morning. By this time you have been up since 6am, done 2 hours of yoga and 30 minutes of pranayama. I was fucking starving. Meditation for me consisted of day dreams about crazy breakfast. Bacon pancake stacks and PROATS!! This did improve over time and I think I actually managed to have no thoughts (even if it was for about 30 seconds at a time)
After about 6 weeks I started noticing a real difference in myself. I was so calm. And not only that I was getting super bendy. Totally seeing a real improvement in body internally and externally. My core strength was insane!! My muscle definition was great (even though I was only doing resistance band and sand bag weight training) I was totally shocked with my progress.
From 9 weeks of yoga training in Patnem my whole outlook of health, fitness and training has changed. I have learnt the absolute importance of flexibility and range of movement for optimum health and function of the body. Not only that I have learnt that everyone needs to concur their mind before any real changes can happen in the body. If you HATE your body and drag yourself to the gym to train like it’s a punishment. This will not work! If you have zero confidence and worry too much about what other people think of you. You will spend your whole life trying to look how everyone else wants you to look.
We must learn that everything is impermanent and we should not find happiness externally in numbers or achievements because the same thing which causes you happiness one day will cause you sadness the next. I used to be the worst for it.. ‘When I can squat 80kg I will be happy’…. Then when I squatted 80kg it was still not good enough. I was looking for the next best thing. ‘When I lose 3kgs I will be happy’. Then I when I lost 3kg I was still not happy. This was still not good enough… ‘when I have those Nike’s I will be happy’.. Got those Nike’s, appreciated them for about 3 days and now they are muddy. The key point to remember is you can’t be happy with anything in the WORLD until you’re happy with yourself 🙂
So why should gym junkies practice yoga, on a regular basis to supplement their training??
- It improves range of movement meaning you can go deeper in your squats and lower in your deadlifts.
- Yoga increases core strength which supports big lifting exercises and gives you killer abs!
- It calms and balances the nervous system which is often put under stress or damaged with heavy lifting.
- It improves circulation helping your muscles to be fueled correctly for recovery and GROWTH.
- Yoga improves body awareness and mind/body connection, boosting self-esteem.
- Yoga increases the ability to be in the present moment and concentrate, which gives you insane focus during workouts in the gym as well as on the mat!
- Through practicing yoga you can achieve a calm mind and reduced stress. This can help with optimum body function, resulting in muscle gains and fat loss, due to a reduction of the hormone called cortisol in our bodies.
- Yoga decreases body fat.
- It teaches you funky arm balances and inversions which are always fun.
- It puts you in a much happier and content state of mind allowing you to enjoy life to the fullest!!!
Happy Bending 🙂