“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Before my family and I moved to Prague, I enjoyed taking group fitness classes at the local gym. A couple of my favorites included Kickboxing (a way to feel tough and strong and upbeat with about 50 others) and Fitness Yoga (a huge change to the bouncing and pounding of running or other aerobic classes).
For me, the 4 years in Prague meant no group fitness classes, and no gym. That was okay — we made the most of our time in Prague by traveling and riding mountain bikes or cross country skiing through the national forest near our house. But once we returned to the U.S., one of the first things I did was go to the gym. Only then did I realize how much I’d missed it. I’ve long been a distance goer on the elliptical, but I injured my knee and needed to find a different option.
Since last August, I’ve participated in the gym’s free group fitness vinyasa yoga classes between 2 and 4 times a week. I’m still swimming and going to a couple of other fun classes, but yoga has been one of the best things I’ve done in years as far as personal fitness.
The 5 best things I think I’ve gained in a year of yoga:
- restored sense of quiet
The particular instructor focuses on core, upper body, and lower body strength, as well as extended periods of working on balance. Every time I go, I leave feeling like Gumby — the rubbery green guy who could bend and flex like a rubber band in 1950s tv. Every cell in my body feels like it glows from the inside out.
I’m sure there are 1000 reasons why yoga is good for our health, and while it’s proven to help us in many ways, there are many excuses not to try yoga. Whenever I admit to loving yoga, I hear every reason why not to do it —
- religious reasons
- not physically flexible
- too hard
I think there are a million reasons not to try any one thing in life, but until we actually do try something, we can’t know for ourselves.
These are the things I do know for sure … I am much stronger, leaner, and longer from a year of yoga, and appreciate the quiet hour a couple times a week to challenge myself physically. Statistics err on the side of yoga, too — after 8 weeks, people improve their flexibility by 35%.
Have you tried yoga? What do you think of it? Love it? Sore for 20 days from it? 🙂 Please share in the comments below. Thanks!