Hey everyone…a reader contacted me recently and asked if she could contribute an article to this blog site, as she is relatively new to yoga and is loving discovering all the wonderful things it has to offer. Enjoy! And thank you, Carolyn, for doing this…I look forward to many more articles from you!
An Adrenaline Junkie’s Love Affair With Yoga
By Carolyn Fallon
One of the coolest – and most intimate – experiences in my entire life was my first yoga class. Yoga? Me? No one was more pleasantly surprised than I was. I’m a self-professed adrenaline junkie – I simply love the buzzed high I get from my weekly kickboxing and spin classes. I get pumped up at the mere thought of hard-core instructors driving everybody in aerobic unison in our collective quest to get super-duper fit! But who knew that deep breathing, stretching poses, and silence amongst a group of strangers would be equally exhilarating? I’m still learning the language around yoga – distinguishing asana (a yogic pose) from prana (Sanskrit for ‘life’) – so forgive me if I fumble while describing how my new fitness passion began!
While I was always curious about yoga, a near tragedy made me give it a hard look. A year ago, my kickboxing partner Alyssa, had told me her doctor recommended yoga as a part of a weight loss program. That protocol surprised me, but a recent study from the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco found that participants in an eight-week adapted yoga program exhibited improvements in balance, flexibility, walking (both in strength and quickness of step), and overall endurance.
I started to notice that Alyssa seemed to prefer yoga OVER kickboxing. Her posture was better, her outlook on life was so positive, and not only had she lost weight, she retained her muscled appearance. Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Glen Axelrod of states, “Many professional athletic teams use yoga as an integral part of their training.” Could all of this be from yoga? After a bit of research, it seemed that the benefits of yoga are endless. Dr Mehmet Oz, himself a yoga enthusiast – cites lymphatic stimulation (cleaning blood of waste materials) and the loosening of muscles and joints to better handle the weight of our bodies (and thereby building muscle tone and strength) as key reasons to give yoga a go.
I finally had my first class (with Alyssa, of course). It was a profoundly rewarding experience. Everything from the right clothing and shoes to the names of the poses felt like a whole new world, and one of silence to boot! I still cannot get over how serene and calm a group of strangers in an exercise room with mats and towels can be. At first, I thought I’d be embarrassed because I was a newbie, but as soon as I realized everyone was in their own internal space, I stopped worrying.
Forget spinning: I don’t think I’ve ever breathed as deeply as I did on my yoga mat. My head was almost dizzy from it; I jokingly looked at Alyssa as if to faint. But I did complete the class.
Since then, I’ve been to two more classes, and progressed to daily sessions on my own. It is just the right complement to my rigorous fitness regimen, and provides the quiet ‘me’ time I didn’t know I was looking for.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid spinner, healthy cooking enthusiast and lover of life. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!