Reading has fallen between the cracks of summer lately. Instead I've been walking Luna every night, enjoying delicious food made by my personal chef (Jarrod), getting out of town every chance we get, and practicing yoga. So much yoga.
I am addicted to yoga. There. I said it. I realized a few months ago when I had to make a choice between a friend's birthday lunch and my Thursday lunchtime yoga class just how true this is. It was a difficult decision. Of course I chose the lunch because people matter more than yoga, but it was a close one. Runners becoming addicted to their preferred exercise is common, but I didn't realize after just a few months of regular yoga practice that I would develop physical cravings for downward dogs if it got to be too late in the day and I hadn't had my yoga fix yet.
I recommend yoga for everything to everyone now. Back pain? You should do yoga. Diabetes? Yoga helps that! Stressed? Have a headache? Hungover? Insomnia? Digestive issues? Yoga! It's a miracle-worker. It also can be a really great strength-training routine, which makes it a great body image booster.
It's so important for a woman to find an exercise she likes not only for health and mood benefits, but because strength is incredibly empowering. After almost a year of daily yoga, I have noticed a big difference in my upper body strength. Things I couldn't lift on my own I now can. Being able to say, "No, I've got it," is a great feeling. I can carry my own suitcases and can keep up in a casual rowing competition among (male) friends on a float trip. That feeling of independence and self-reliance can be gained from any strength-training exercise, but I love yoga because I am able to listen to my body in ways I can't when I'm running or using some gym machine. Yoga lets you push yourself or back off if you need to that day. Yoga never seems like a chore.
Ok, so you're ready to start, right? The spectacular news is that you can start right this minute. All you need is a little space and whatever device you are reading this on. While a mat is very helpful, it's not vital. The video below is the first day of a really fun 30-day yoga challenge from doyouyoga.com that you can find on YouTube. The videos are around 15 minutes long and focus on different areas to strengthen and stretch every day.
I convinced Jarrod to do this challenge with me, and he loves it and is a total yogi now. :) And to the Walmart check-out guy giving Jarrod crap about buying a yoga mat, yoga knows no gender. Yoga is for everyone.
If you need more, I love all of Tara Stiles' videos on YouTube. Just search "Tara Stiles".
Do you yoga? You should yoga.