Tuesday, September 16, 2008

engage your mind, body and spirit with a little yoga

Today's take it off tuesday highlights the growing trend of incorporating yoga into your fitness regimen. I have done yoga off and on for the past few years and love, love, LOVE it! Though Wednesdays are currently my power yoga days, I ought to do it more often and not just because it feels good once I'm done. When I practice yoga regularly I find I am more aware of my posture, my flexibility increases along with my confidence, and though it may sound a little cheesy I do feel more centered (i.e. I have more patience with my kids).

Yoga is gaining in popularity for those same reasons and more. I love the recent article Yoga Your Own Way from Fitness magazine:

...Experts say yogic breathing techniques can help insomniacs sleep better and ease anxiety and depression. Still other research shows that people who practice yoga lose weight and maintain a healthy weight more easily than those who don't practice yoga. And if that's not enough to make you do some sun salutations, a consistent yoga practice can also lead to a healthier heart in just six weeks, according to a Yale University School of Medicine study.
I had no idea about the healthier heart or the insomnia. Perhaps my husband should start a little yoga so I don't have to serve as his "woobie" at bedtime!

I am a big fan of power yoga, preferring to break a sweat after countless downward dogs and warrior poses. I have two favorite power yoga DVDs. The first is from Bryan Kest, and not just because he's good looking. ;) His 3-DVD set, Power Yoga 1/2/3 Series, gives you a variety of skill levels and poses. Just don't be discouraged by the pros in the background. I had no idea that kind of flexibility existed! (Note: check ebay for a great price on this set.)

My other favorite (thank you, LeShan) is from Kristin McGee. Her Power Yoga DVD definitely makes me sweat and it gives a great burn for the butt and thighs, though it is lacking in abdominal moves. I rotate hers in with Bryan's so I never get bored and my body is always trying to guess what's coming next.

If you'd rather use yoga as a great way to relax before bed or before you head to work, you'll find a variety of wonderful DVDs on Amazon.com. Whether you're practicing yoga to drop a few pounds or decompress after a long day, your mind, body and spirit will thank you! --Emily

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