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Give Peace A Chance: Try Yoga

by Erika Nicole Kendall

yogaI have to tell you… I love Yoga.

I could have a total hippie moment and tell you that Yoga relieves my stress, allows me to extend my flexibility, and makes me feel like I’m strengthening muscles I didn’t even know I had. Instead… I think I’ll have my hippie moment anyway.

I remember when I first started. I discovered FitTV on my cable, and caught an episode of Namaste Yoga. It’s a half hour episode of a woman with a soothing voice guiding you through Yoga positions, and three young and fit women displaying the positions and the transitions moving you from one pose to the next. I took my sweet time watching the show to see how the positions looked… and accepting the fact that I might look and feel like a complete fool for not looking as graceful as the women on the show.

Then I realized – I’m in my own house, by myself… why couldn’t I look a complete fool for a little while? Why not just give it a shot? Yoga has all these supposed benefits, why not indulge and see for myself?

I’ve got to tell you, I battled with this back in August. Now, it’s December. Not only did I finally develop theability to touch my toes, but I’ve uncovered flexibility I couldn’t imagine before. I’ve developed an appreciation for my body, what it’s capable of, and realized how connected my methods of self-care really are. Yoga helps me physically and emotionally. My emotional well-being allows me to stay focused in my quest to be a healthier eater. Eating better prepares me physically for how Yoga can better my body.

Okay, that was my hippie moment. All of that is to say, yes.. you may feel silly in the beginning… but you start feeling accomplished. You start feeling challenged. And if you take on the challenge, the accomplishments are that much more rewarding.

If you’re even the least bit intrigued, here is an episode of Namaste Yoga for you to preview. I’ll be adding the episodes to the video archives, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Nicci@NiftyEats December 19, 2009 - 11:38 PM

I love yoga, makes me flexible and relieves stress. It’s really great for the mind, body and soul…agreed.

Jubilance December 20, 2009 - 9:19 AM

I started doing yoga because it was the only time I could stop thinking & turn my mind off. And I fell in love. I go to a heated Power Yoga practice (not Bikram) and I love the studio I attend. Its a great workout but I dont feel like I’ve worked out, which is the best part. I just feel it the next day.

Now that I’m moving, I definitely want to find a new studio.

Kimmie Brown December 20, 2009 - 6:56 PM

I started doing yoga last December. At first, I was skeptical, thinking that it would be a waste of time. I lift weights and run many many miles. Yoga is a great complement to lifting and running because you stretch those muscles out, especially after long runs. Yoga has helped me develop a really feminine shape with long pretty muscles and it keeps me flexible.

@steenfox December 20, 2009 - 9:56 PM

Did you make it to Bikram yet? I can’t wait to hear about your experience when/if you do! ~Namaste

Karen December 21, 2009 - 9:53 AM

I just started doing a “Yoga for Beginners” DVD workout about 2 weeks ago. I felt like a total idiot the first time. I even fell flat on my butt a few times! But afterwards, I did feel more relaxed and less stressed. I’m glad I decided to stick with it because I am seeing progress in my flexibility (and most important for me – a reduction in my stress level!) even after this short time.

Is it normal to feel sore after Yoga? I feel sore in muscles I didn’t even know I had.

MsKenya December 21, 2009 - 10:19 AM

I am going to be honest; the only reason I started doing Yoga was because it is a part of the P90X program that I am doing. When I started, I didn’t like it because I really couldn’t hold the postures and poses that strong. Now, I feel like Yoga should be an integral part of any exercise program. Yoga has calmed me, made me more flexible and strong. Plus, when I am doing high impact workouts, Yoga is the perfect follow up to stretch my muscles out making them feel much better. All the warrior poses, and ashtanga vinyasa sequences have helped tremendously even though I hate those the most lol!

Erika December 21, 2009 - 10:25 AM

Nicci and Jubi, I’m glad you came through and shared! Namaste! 🙂

@steenfox, I’ve yet to step outside of my Yoga show (I stick to it pretty well because of convenience reasons)… but if you ask the right person, I keep my house hot enough for a Bikram Yoga session! LOL!

Karen, I’ve fallen a few times too… but I always feel relieved when I come back to the pose and am actually successful in execution. Kind of makes you smirk a bit! I can’t say whether or not it’s normal because it depends on the kind of soreness you’re experiencing, but my muscles definitely feel a little bit of a tingle after a good session, too!

Kimmie, I’ve GOT to agree! The things that Yoga has done to my developing muscles and my skin… seriously, I’m like “I’m never giving this up!” LOL!

Erika December 21, 2009 - 10:56 AM

Kenya, aw man! Going from Warrior 1 to warrior 2 is seriously my FAVORITE transition! I never feel so focused and free and liberated and excited in my LIFE! All that energy going to one simple and small focal point? It feels so intense to me! LOL

I don’t think it matters how you get there, as long as the natural progression keeps you going and growing! I hope to be on Jubi’s level and hitting up a nice yoga studio sometime soon… when I find one that’s child-friendly, LOL!

Kymberly December 23, 2009 - 11:28 AM

Love Yoga! I started with Yoga for Weight Loss for beginners a few years ago. Since then, I’ve done a few other DVD’s from Giam and other companies. I’ve recently discovered Sportskool on IO Free on Demand. They have lots of different exercise options in rotation including yoga. Who could ask for anything more?

BAnjeeB May 28, 2010 - 9:30 AM

I’ve been doing vinyasa yoga for a little over a year now and 2.5 weeks ago I tried Bikram. I’m hooked on both now (and not just because I’ve lost 10 lbs. since beinging Bikram). My practice has increased my patience with people and made the bedroom a much more interesting place ;-).

Namaste ladies!

Erika May 28, 2010 - 10:01 AM

Oooooh! I wanna try bikram yoga sooo much… I’d have to find a good place AND a regular sitter. At least with my DVDs, I can hang at home, you know?

Maybe I’ll just turn up the thermostat at the crib. LOL

Nickey June 11, 2010 - 11:41 AM

I heard all the GREAT things about yoga but I’m scarred!! I don’t want to go to a class and turn in to a bow tie..words of encouragement please

Erika June 11, 2010 - 12:38 PM

LOL So you’re going to scare yourself out of trying something new? Are you sure you even want to try yoga?

Put one foot in front of the other – don’t be intimidated by what you think yoga is until you try it out for yourself. There are plenty of Yoga videos on this site to watch – take a look at one of ’em and give it a shot. Yoga is only as painful as you make it.. meaning you can stop or pull back if it feels like too much. You can only “fold up” as much as you try it.. meaning you can’t “turn into a bow tie” unless you put your body there, and chances are you just might like it. I get my “bow tie” on at least once a day… EVERY day. Get into it!

StacyAustralia September 8, 2010 - 11:49 AM

OMG!!! That just kicked my behind!!! But I feel good!!! thanks for adding it to your site. I know I will be doing it at least once a day.

Julia February 24, 2011 - 12:55 PM

As a fellow yogi I would say that yoga has changed my life. I started it to deal with my brother’s death, but now it helps me deal with issues in every day life. I mainly practice vinyasa, but I do go to Bikram about once a month. I’m glad to see more sisters practicing.

Erika, Florida always has great yoga conferences and sometimes they offer day passes. It’s great. You get to practice different styles and with renowned teachers, but it can be a great “me-day” treat to yourself.

Takeyah | Core Connection Lifestyle March 22, 2011 - 11:49 PM

Glad you posted this. I am a chocolate crunchy granola type of girl. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 10+ years and love it. After my first class I felt like I was walking about a foot above the ground. I’ve been hooked since then. I teach now and love guiding people to focus their energy, stretch their minds and connect to their core.

Would love to hear more as you practice more.

JazzFest January 3, 2012 - 10:28 PM

lol “chocolate crunchy granola girl” I’ll have to use that one! It’s more complimentary than dirty hippie :p

Alicia January 12, 2012 - 3:45 AM

LOL, cute, totally stealing that because I am also a chocolate, crunchy granola gal! I started doing Bikram yoga about 1.5 years ago after trying other types of yoga and feeling very bored & just not into the classes. After my first class I was hooked!!! I decided I wanted to practice Bikram for the rest of my life and I’ll really NEED to because I have never been very flexible! But that heat will change that very quickly!! I am always surprised at how much better I can do certain poses now and great they make my body feel!

I HIGHLY recommend everyone to try Bikram’s unlimited 30 days to see how amazing it will make your body feel!!! A lot of studios offer daycare and the one I go to even offers kids classes! Thanks for another great read =)!

SHAMIKA September 30, 2012 - 6:43 PM

I’ve always wanted to try yoga and now I’m really intrigued. I don’t think I have FitTv but I did find Kate Potter’s DVD’s on Amazon. I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks posting the video, hopefully I won’t tangle myself up! 🙂

kami November 30, 2012 - 9:09 AM

I will be doing Bikram yoga for December and January and Burn Yoga/ Moshka yoga ( heated) until the month of March. This is for my cardio/ and strength training and burns fat . It helps with my stress levels as a graduate student. The yoga that I chose helps with upper- body strength and tight muscles. Peace and Namaste

Alexis December 1, 2012 - 10:22 AM

Thank you sooo much for putting this on your site!! Got up bright and early and dusted off my yoga mat to do this workout. Yes, I’m in the ‘I Hate Yoga’ camp right now (it stresses me out…? lol!), but when I was doing it long ago, my body was leaner and way more flexible. So, this is my challenge to myself to get back on the mat and try it again.

Question: How do y’all stop thinking about how the poses look and “center” yourselves?? It sounds ridiculous, but what do you think about? If I could get out of my own head, me and yoga might could probably be friends…

Erika Nicole Kendall December 3, 2012 - 11:09 AM

Honestly, I just focus on execution. All poses have modifications that make them easier or more challenging, so there’s always an opportunity to challenge myself to work harder. I just focus on not busting my head or hindquarters, LOL, and that helps me avoid thinking about how “foolish” I might look or feel. Besides, you eventually develop an appreciation for yoga that extends beyond looking at it through the eyes of a non-yogi. And, even if you’re just a bit self-conscious about the fact that you’re not fantastic at it immediately, remember that all great abilities have to be developed; they don’t come out of thin air!

Try to develop the ability to appreciate yoga for what it is and not what we might think it’s supposed to be, and then you should be fine. 🙂

Did that help a bit?

Kiera January 5, 2013 - 10:36 AM

Thank you! I’m going to get off my couch now pull out my yoga DVD ad hit the may. I can do this ! 2013 will be the year I loose weight and begin to feel good about myself. Thanks ladies

Kiera January 5, 2013 - 10:37 AM

Sorry I meant hit the mat

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