Today I'm happy to be sharing something a little different with you.  It's Monday and if you follow me on social media you know Monday's are all about movement.  A great form of exercise to through into your weekly routine is Yoga.  I have practiced Vinyasa in the past and there are a lot of benefits to your body and mind, which is why I wanted to feature this article by a friend of mine, Bridgette.  I am grateful Bridgette was willing to take the time to write this article for me (and you) regarding the benefits of yoga, what yoga is not, and how to get started.  I hope you like it as much as I do...

Not Your Typical Yogi

I used to stereotype people who practiced yoga as hippie/free-spirited/super-flexible people. But, once I learned that yoga was really just a form of meditation that also improves flexibility, strength, coordination and balance, I decided to give it a try.

I realized that the stereotype is wrong. People who practice yoga can be amazing athletes, people with back and joint pain who are looking for relief, and those simply wanting a good workout, just to name a few.

However, as much as I love practicing Yoga, I still say that I am not your typical yogi. I am pretty high maintenance. I love shoes, bags, beauty products and I can’t go on vacation with less than 27 suitcases… Don’t judge me.

Are you mindful or is your mind full?

Meditation was another practice that I stereotyped for a long time, but when my anxiety became unbearable, I gave it a shot because I was desperate. Meditating has helped me become more mindful and in turn my mind is less full. And, Yoga is another form of meditation.

If you have never tried meditation, you can check out How to Meditate: For Beginners.

3 Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Improved Clarity: Like I mentioned before, Yoga is a form of meditation. Many of the balance poses require so much concentration that you are forced to be present. Your mind can’t wander, or you will wind up on the ground. So, yoga is a great way to reap the benefits of meditation if you find it difficult to be present, still and meditate in the traditional sense.

Cardio & Circulatory Benefits: Disclaimer, I am not a doctor. But, even though you may not be moving much in your yoga practice, it’s not hard to get your heart pumping. Especially when you are doing inversions.

Improved flexibility and strength: I never thought of Yoga as a good workout until I actually tried it. I always say that I am on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to exercise. I love high intensity workouts. And, I also love Yoga. I like to workout intensely 3-4 days per week and then do Yoga 1-2 days per week. This gives my muscles and joints a break, but I am still strengthening my body and taking care of myself. And, although these are low impact exercises, planks, push ups and inversions are amazing for core strength.

What Yoga is NOT

Yoga is not something where your ego can be present. It’s different from going to the gym and working your way up weight rack.

You might find it discouraging at first because one day you might have the ability to do some amazing difficult poses and you are feeling strong and flexible. Then, the next day you are falling over during the simplest poses.

The bottom line is that your body is dynamic, and yoga reminds us of that. The key is being mindful and not judging ourselves, but rather recognizing changes and being kind, gentle and compassionate to ourselves. Is that something that we ever take time to do? 

Getting started

Yoga is something that can be modified for all fitness levels, so when you are ready to try it you can find a great workout online or locate a class at a gym near you.

I want to know if you try it and what is your favorite pose? What is a pose that you are working on?

Personally, I’ve gotten really into inversions because they are fun, challenging and let’s be honest, they just look really cool.

If you are interested in trying inversions, here is a quick tutorial on how to get started with headstands.

Bridgette is a wife and mom of 3 daughters. She is a recovering perfectionist who used to worry chronically and feel guilty for taking time for herself. Eventually, the pressure of being perfect caused her to crack.  She ended up having a breakdown, which led her to realize the importance of self-care, especially for moms.  Now, she helps women just like her, to stop feeling guilty and to take their lives back.  To learn more about Bridgette please visit www.bridgettepetrino.com