Thanks to my role as a yoga teacher, I get to do a lot of yoga!
I teach about seven classes a week, and because I’ve been taught that yoga teachers should balance teaching classes with taking classes from other teachers, I also try to do that when I can.
For instance, I recently attended a Yin Yoga workshop taught by a teacher friend of mine.
Additionally, I enjoy walking and attending Zumba classes fairly regularly.
Yoga and Fitness
Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to mix things up a bit more and decided to sign up for a 6-week boot camp at an Anytime Fitness gym in my area where I teach yoga and attend Zumba classes. I understand the importance of ‘surprising’ or ‘shaking up’ the muscles, so to speak, and not simply repeating the same workout pattern.
The variety helps keep us stimulated and avoids us burning out, reaching a plateau and such.
So, here I am in my season of fitness variety.
I am absolutely embracing it and also appreciating that although I am almost 46 years old, I feel like I’m getting younger, not older.
While I am increasing exercise intensity these days, I am thrilled that I haven’t yet been too sore the day after a boot camp class. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard in boot camp, and Boot Camp Instructor Clarissa Cummins certainly “kicks our booties,” as folks around the gym are known to say, but what I typically feel the ‘day after’ feels right and balanced.
It’s as though the pleasantly sore areas of my body speak to me with love as opposed to pain.
It’s as if they’re saying, ‘Thank you for giving me more attention’ as opposed to screaming, ‘You never work me. You don’t even stretch me, and now you want me to help you feel no pain after a high-energy boot camp class!’
Hmmh, maybe if we think of each muscle in the body as a baby, we really would make time to nurture and fuel each one.
For more information about workout balance as far as the varied muscles go, visit this informative blog by Lori Painter, health and fitness coach.
So, why am I not feeling terribly sore after Cummins’ intense boot camp?
Am I really an “alien” like Zumba Instructor Kimberly Christopher (known as “Kim C.” to her Zumba fans) jokes with me when observing my high energy and endurance during boot camp?
“It’s because of all that yoga you do,” I keep hearing others say.
“You’re all stretched out,” says Kim Macy, owner of Anytime Fitness in Middleburg, FL. I’m sure that’s a big part of it, along with conscious eating — including juicing — of course!
I am really “kissing” my yoga practice right now, because it’s as if yoga has prepared me for a time such as this. All I can say in this moment as I mentally bow in Child’s pose with gratitude for the yoga journey, “Thank you, yoga! Thank you for preparing me for Clarissa Vasquez Cummins and her boot camp!”
Yoga Enhances “Your Thing”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my yoga students and others: “Yoga doesn’t have to be ‘your thing’ like it is ‘my thing’, but it will certainly support whatever is ‘your thing’. Your thing may be walking, running, tennis, Zumba, lifting weights, etc., but yoga will support it all.” It provides a tried-and-true foundation.
There are numerous pro ball players who have shared that their athletic abilities and game performances rose to new levels after adding yoga to their fitness routines. Kareem Abdul Jabbar credits yoga in a major way for keeping him in the game of basketball for the extended length of time he professionally played that sport.
I’m telling you, folks, my body is revealing ‘new levels’ to me right now, too.
As I approach 46, I’m feeling like I can do more, not less, and I can’t promote this yoga-foundation concept enough.
Simply try adding a yoga practice to your exercise routine. It does not have to replace what you enjoy most; yoga will simply enhance it. The yoga you add can be as simple as a gentle yoga class.
In my humble opinion, all yoga done with consistency will get you results.
Pick what style works for you (there are many) and go for it. It may take you some time to tap into the style that suits you best, but trust me, it’s out there somewhere. It’s waiting for you! Or, you may find that you enjoy switching up your yoga classes, ranging from gentle yoga to an intermediate type of yoga class right on up to power yoga.
“I feel so long and stretched out,” Kim C. recently said at the end of her first Mind/Body class with me. That class was more of a gentle to intermediate one! “And I just feel so relaxed,” she added. Then, on her Facebook page, she wrote: “Yoga with Penny was awesome! Great way to stretch and release. Felt like I was on a tropical island – by myself.”
Not only are you able to get the body nicely stretched from yoga, but the conscious breathwork and taking time for stillness during the class promotes a sense of healing, well-being, and clarity.
“I feel like I can even see more clearly,” Kim C. also stated after class.
“There’s no doubt your yoga practice is working for you in boot camp,” Cummins said to me. “Not only are you not feeling as sore as you probably would feel if you weren’t doing yoga, but look at how you are able to do even more. You still have energy and strength right after boot camp for more.”
She’s referring to the cartwheel and handstand I often enjoy doing for whatever reason before leaving the gym after boot camp.
You know, we really can’t go wrong with blending conscious breathing with movement (stretching/postures) and stillness. Plus, yoga is known to help prevent injuries and/or it helps decrease the severity of injuries and the rate of healing, too.
Give it a try and observe the positive body, mind, and spirit changes you’ll begin to feel, because yoga really is the real deal. Why not enhance your fitness routine with yoga?