Over the past few months, I have been leaning my workouts more toward overall strength and toning instead of hitting the treadmill and elliptical machines. I have decided to decrease my HIIT workouts over the summer months and focus on really building muscle and strengthening my core. One activity that I plan on incorporating into my weekly workout is yoga. There are many reasons for this, but I will cover the two most important reasons in this article today.
Namaste everyone and welcome to the summer of mindfulness and toning!
I have always prided myself on being a fairly well-rounded individual, so why shouldn’t my workouts reflect that? I am here to be your guinea pig into trying out every aspect in healthy living because the fact is that everyone’s body is different and everyone has different workouts and approaches that work for them.
1. Mental Well-Being
One of the main reasons that I have chosen to explore yoga this summer is because I suffer from anxiety and depression. I know it’s a bit “taboo” to talk about mental illness, but it is a part of who I am and I hope that this article can speak to a few different people that also struggle with this on a day to day basis. I have my anxiety under control, but it took many years and a lot of denial, to get myself here. I find working out to be the best drug to fight the thoughts and worries that creep into my mind. One of the things my brain lacks is endorphins and working out helps me create those naturally. Needless to say, Please consult your doctor if you are suffering from a mental illness.
Yoga has been prescribed as a great holistic approach to managing anxiety and depression. The breathwork that you are taught in the classes and the emphasis on being present in the moment really help to settle and center anxious minds. Many times when I feel a panic attack coming on, focusing on breathing and placing my hand on my chest helps to calm me down. I want to continue my journey toward health and mental wellness by adding yoga to my weekly routine.
If you are like me and are looking for a way to manage anxiety or even everyday stress, check out these simple yoga poses that are aimed at alleviating anxiety. YOGA JOURNAL – YOGA FOR ANXIETY
Not to mention that stress can put a big strain on your fitness goals. I don’t care who you are, but science has shown that stress causes your body to produce the hormone cortisol, which can contribute to belly fat. Read more about how you can combat stress from my throwback blog post “Combatting Stress and Depression When Trying to Lose Weight”.
2. Yoga is the Perfect Compliment to Strength Training
As you may have read in my previous blog post, Summer Wish List, two of the activities I would like to try this summer is hot yoga and paddleboard yoga!
I want to get more intense and serious about toning muscle and challenging my body. Yoga lends it self to making your body more flexible and controlled which is a huge plus when doing weight training as well. Not only will yoga help you become more in tune with your body, it also helps make active rest days even more pro-active.
I love using yoga poses after an intense HIIT workout or weight session at the gym. You can use these to help alleviate lower back pain and really help you achieve a full range of motion. So many times I have seen gym rats brag about how big their muscles are, but when you ask them to touch their toes it is near impossible for them to do.
Just like anything in life, there needs to be a balance in your workout routine, and yoga definitely provides that. Not only is yoga physically challenging, but you walk out of every class in a “zen- like” state. A lot of that has to do with the breathing or Pranayama.
While doing research for this article I really loved this post by breakingmuscle.com and authored by Brandon Hofer.