I discovered my enthusiasm and love for yoga several years ago when I was going through a rough transition in my life. Before that period, I had always be an avid runner and loved any type of exercise that focused mainly on cardio like running, skating, tennis, and kick boxing. Honestly, I always thought that yoga would be too slow for me and wouldn’t hold my attention. I met my dear friend and amazing yoga and Pilates instructor, Kristin McGee at that time of my life who invited me to a class to try and witness the healing powers of yoga. It took me about two to three classes before I could really disconnect and put my worries aside for an hour or two and be in tune with my breathing, my mind and my heart. All of my stress didn’t just all disappear but for a brief period of time, I could clear my mind enough so that after class I was ready to tackle a problem with clarity and focus. I also found that yoga allowed me to challenge myself physically as I gained strength in my core and the various muscle groups and joints in my body.
WHAT CAN YOGA DO FOR YOU?
In addition to having positive effects on the mind, sleep and mood, yoga can benefit the musculoskeletal system. There have been studies also looking at how yoga can help with knee pain and stiffness as well as some types of arthritis like osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis when the cartilage in between the joints wears down over time. Yoga can reduce pain by having a positive impact on the fluid in the joint.
As a middle age female (I can’t believe I’m at that point in my life!), maintaining bone strength and quality is very important. Yoga may be able to increase bone strength and bone density.
There are also moves like the “Tree pose” or “Warrior pose” that promote stretching, coordination, balance and help stabilize core, hip and leg muscles.
MY FIRST PELOTON YOGA EXPERIENCE
While I would absolutely love to have the time to attend a physical class multiple times a week, I just can’t while being a working professional and single mom. I am inspired every day by Kristin who incorporates yoga in her life. So with the new available online Peloton Yoga classes, FITTING IT IN is much easier. I was fortunate to take my first Peloton yoga class a right before Christmas and found it invigorating. I elected to take the beginner class to just get back to the basics and try and really learn the movement sequences that are essential to this practice. As I’ve gotten older, I have also noticed more aches and pains in my joints. I wanted to take this time to study the poses with the right form so that by strengthening my muscles, and increasing joint flexibility, future joint complications may be avoided. I was able to use blocks, a blanket and straps to help me modify poses to avoid pushing my joints beyond a certain limit.
BACK TO YOGA BASICS
While breathing and moving to Cat Steven’s, “Wild World” and the Beatles “In My Life” playing in the background, Kristin McGee helped me adjust my body to poses like:
a) Cat-Cow and Cobra Pose
b) Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
c) Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
d) Downward-Facing Dog
e) Plank/Side Plank
f) Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
g) Warrior I and Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana)
All of these poses can target muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs, glutes, spinal muscles, forearms, shoulders, external obliques, abdominal and chest muscles.
The last Shavasana pose brought everything together and allowed me to meditate and be grateful for being present in the moment and for the upcoming New Year. Now that Peloton Yoga can be streamed, I will definitely be fitting in my yoga multiple times a week.
GIVE IT A TRY! NAMASTE!!
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Steffany Haaz, PhD and Susan Bartlett, PhD. Yoga for Arthritis: A Scoping Review. Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2011
Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Yoga: Another way to prevent osteoporosis? May 2016
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only, not as medical advice or as a diagnosis. Please see yo0ur physician should you have any questions, symptoms, or concerns.