What’s your go-to favorite workout? Mine is definitely yoga! I love it because not only is it stretching, toning, a full-body workout, energizing, and healthy – it’s also gentle. While I enjoy the occasional Zumba session, generally, crazy intense cardio workouts are not my thing. Yoga is perfect for me.
Last year I discovered the YouTube channel Yoga With Adrienne and I was immediately hooked! She is so much fun, not too hippie or new-agey, and her workouts are great for any level of yoga practice, from beginner to advanced.
Today I wanted to share some life lessons I’ve learned from regularly practicing yoga over the past year. These are little tidbits from the workouts that I have carried off the mat and into my everyday life.
1. Good posture
To remind us about our posture, Adrienne always says, “head over heart, heart over pelvis.” I find myself remembering this phrase at other times through my day and adjusting my stance accordingly. Rather than the abstract “use good posture” or “sit up straight,” this phrase head over heart, heart over pelvis is a concrete and simple way to think about my spine alignment.
If that phrasing doesn’t resonate with you, another posture phrase Adrienne uses is “loop your shoulders back and open your heart.”
2. Breathe & Relax
I never realized, until recently, how often I just forget to breathe! Have you noticed that? When I get uptight or anxious about something, I have a tendency to hold my breath – without even realizing it. And in reality, that just increases the stress I’m feeling.
In yoga, there’s a lot of focus on the breath. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, plant the palms. Exhale, step back to downward dog. When the workout gets us into a position where we’re struggling to balance or feeling like a pretzel, the instructor – right on cue – reminds us to breathe. I’ve definitely become more aware of my breathing in daily life, particularly in stressful situations, and it really does help to just remember to inhale and exhale. Our organs need oxygen to function properly; our brain needs oxygen to think clearly. Breathing is important.
Often when a yoga routine gets us twisted into a challenging position or trying hard to keep our balance, Adrienne will remind viewers, “Relax your forehead muscles…Smile.” It’s such a useful reminder, because when we get into tricky situations, we all tend to tense up the muscles in our face, neck, and shoulders. This is another helpful tip to carry off the yoga mat and into the ups and downs of everyday life. Simply relaxing those muscles and giving way to a smile can change our whole demeanor. Combine that with a few deep breaths, and you might have yourself a whole new mindset.
Do you enjoy the exercise of yoga? Or what’s your favorite “gentle” workout?
How can you implement these yoga tips into your daily life?