Yoga was something I always wanted to try, but it seemed as though there was no good time to start. I had heard only positive things about it, and needed a low-impact workout to ease into, while still building strength and creating muscle tone.
Then I came across Tony Horton’s Yoga X. Yoga X is part of the famous P90X program, but can be done alone as well.
I used to wake up EVERY MORNING with pain and soreness in my upper and lower back and shoulders from handling the kids during the day. It would typically dissipate as the day went on, but no sooner would I wake up the next morning, than all the pain would be back.
After doing Yoga X for the last four months, I can happily tell you that I don’t feel a bit of pain upon waking anymore, unless I’ve skipped a workout the day before. I feel stronger overall and more relaxed as I go about my day. As far as possible, I do yoga every day, except for weekends.
Besides easing back pain, here are six more crazy good benefits of doing yoga at least three times per week:
The very method of yoga is designed to un-kink all the tension you have built up in your muscles. Once this becomes a consistent habit, you will find that you become so flexible that you can move pretty much any which way and it doesn’t come back to haunt you later.
BUILDS MUSCLE TONE
Even though Yoga X isn’t a cardio-heavy workout, keeping the poses for several seconds each tones and shapes muscles. For me, the biggest change in four months has been the tightness in my arms, which helps with
heavy lifting picking up the kids.
STRENGTHENS ABS + CORE
This is big for me, post-pregnancy. The tummy is still there, but it’s slowly going back in, and I don’t pull ab muscles anymore while doing routine things, such as lying down on one side while sleeping. I don’t feel sore after this workout—only a little bit stronger than the day before.
When taking Pumpkin and Peanut out for walks in the stroller, there would sometimes be upward slopes that would leave me breathless at times. I can’t say that I never get breathless anymore, but holding certain poses such as Upward Dog has increased my stamina so much more than before in much less time.
Upward Dog, Triangle Pose, and Runner’s Stretch are only some of the poses which are so intense to hold for several seconds that you are forced to take deep, clear breaths to match the effort involved. Many mornings, for some reason, I wake up with a slightly stuffy nose, and by the end of 30 minutes, my nose is totally clear—because of the deep breaths involved.
FORCES YOU TO CLEAR YOUR MIND
I once joked to my husband that Yoga X was similar to labor except for the pain. What I meant was the sheer energy it takes to keep a pose while maintaining deep, relaxing breaths throughout wipes any other thoughts from your mind. It’s literally impossible to focus on the poses and random thoughts at the same time, let alone talk. It’s actually pretty nice to give my racing mind a break, even if it’s only for 30 minutes!
I didn’t think I could find a way to squeeze yoga into my busy day, but I do it while the kids are having breakfast. On a good day I might even get up before they do and complete the session before they even wake up. At times it may seem like I have so much to do, but the physical and mental payoff has definitely been worth it.
Have you tried yoga? If so, how has it helped you?