It feels like the fitness world is divided in two. There’s planet kale, which has lots of magical superfood powders cultivated from the depths of the Amazonian forest, lots of meditation, deep breathing, probably an obscene amount of bananas, oh and the inhabitants of Planet Kale swear by their daily yoga sesh. Then there’s planet barbell. Only foods that “fit the macros” are allowed, people live in GymShark leggings and never go anywhere without a protein shake in hand. Oh and these guys don’t do yoga. I’m somewhere in between. My morning green smoothie fuels my weight lifting session, and I blend kale into my protein shake. I track my macros, yet as much as it makes me cringe to say this, I just have to start every day with a yoga session. Yeah I know, I’m one of those. I don’t have a carpet in my room, I have a yoga mat constantly lying on the floor in case… I dunno, I get the need to break out into an impromptu sun salutation or something…
Benefits of yoga
Alright so what’s the hype? Well last week the chapter I was studying in my PT book was actually all about mind-body exercise, notable yoga. They talked about the many benefits such as increased muscle strength and endurance, reduced stress, increased flexibility etc. Personally I mainly do yoga for it’s calming effect. Maybe for someone who’s never done much exercise it would help with muscle strength and endurance but if that’s really what you’re going for I can think of much more effective ways to get there. In terms of relaxation however, I’d say that nothing that quite does it like yoga. It’s no surprise to me that many studies show how those that practice regularly tend to have less stress-related problems than those that don’t. Oh and let’s all mention the best part of any yoga class ever: Shavasanah. For real, after a relaxing yoga class you get to just lie on your mat, do nothing and basically have a little nap. So good.
How to get started with yoga?
I’d say the best way to get started is go to a few classes. It takes some times to feel comfortable enough to go with it, feel the movements and just go with the flow. As a beginner, it’s better to have the structure of a class with a teacher that can correct your poses. Watching YouTube videos and following along is a good way continue once you’ve taken a few classes (and want to continue with a free option especially when on that #studentlife budget).
When to do yoga
I usually do a quick yoga flow of about 15-20 minutes in the morning the second I wake up. Some prefer to do it at night cuz it helps them sleep. Tbh I’m always so tired at night I absolutely crash the second my head hits the pillow so I don’t really the yoga to calm me down, but I definitely feel like it helps first thing in the morning. It stretches me out after being still all night, and I usually find that when I’ve done yoga in the morning, I get better workouts in, I guess cuz I feel more bendy and balanced or something. I used to just do yoga casually every once in a while, until about a year and a half ago where I decided that I would wake up half an hour earlier every day and do it before a quick flow before class (clearly waking up at 5:30 wasn’t early enough, I need to fit more into my morning). It was initially just for stress management but now it’s become a habit and definitely feel like it helps me prepare for the day both physically and mentally.