Motivator & Yoga Mentor For Men
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Why Yoga Is More Than a Workout

Skip the trendy workout yoga classes and commit to a high-quality practice.

 

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Do you stare at the clock during your workout waiting for it to end? Or maybe you space out, staring glossy-eyed at a big-screen television while you step, run or elliptical your evening away. Exercise trends such as Zumba, Tae Bo, Jazzercise, P90X and Insanity come and go. Many styles of yoga fall into this category of providing a “quick fix” because they eliminate details and the depth of a thorough yoga practice. A workout style of yoga is a popular entry point for students. However, it often leaves them unsatisfied, injured and seeking more. Rather than chase instant gratification and a temporary solution to get healthy, try quality yoga for a full, meaningful and safe experience.

A Full-Spectrum Practice

At some point, you need depth in your yoga practice to achieve healthy, long-lasting results. Like a relationship, if you are bored and not enjoying yourself, it will be short-lived. If it is purely physical, it will burn out quickly. Yoga that provides insight and fitness is a great way to maintain a practice with radical depth. You can have fun, get fit, and continuously learn and evolve. A robust yoga practice delivers profound insights on alignment, while bringing your attention to the simplicity of the breath. Afterward, you feel more grounded in your mind. It’s this mind-body experience that makes you feel blissed-out after yoga and provides a richness in your practice.

Applicable

A good yoga practice helps to find the value of its teachings in everyday life. Unlike working out, yoga classes have a specific focus or theme that is woven throughout the sequence. These are simple concepts that correlate with real-life situations. A theme could be something as simple as commitment or patience. It is a way to focus your practice and also helps to guide you in the sequence of poses you are working on. When you practice with a vision, it gives you a purpose that goes beyond the physical poses.

Acceptance Over Competition

Don’t live to do yoga. Practice yoga to live. Your physical body will go through many different evolutions through time as you grow with your yoga practice. Some poses you will achieve, some you won’t. You might be able to practice some poses today that you won’t come close to achieving in five years. The poses are fun, and are a great way to keep your vitality. However, a strong yoga practice helps you relish life and the things that matter most to you. The point is not whether you can put your foot behind your head or get into a handstand, but rather to practice showing up for the people and things you love most.

Awareness

Yoga is one of the few times in your busy life where you can step away from the phone, computer and TV to really be present with yourself. With workouts, you can mindlessly go through the motions. In yoga, you have to be completely focused on the instruction, every movement and every breath. This focused attention creates a moving meditation where you can only be in that moment and you forget about the stress of life.

Alignment

There is no limit to the ways you can approach the poses. The subtle nuances that you can focus on while working the biomechanics in your body provide a very tangible method to advance in your practice. Through this awareness, you find revelations in your body that are fascinating and keep you longing for more. Something as fundamental as how you shift your weight in your feet and the tendency to favor one side while balancing can make profound shifts in your practice and daily life. When you intellectualize the physical postures, rethink and rework them with healthy alignment, you open up your body and mind to the possibility of more.

Community

The joy of yoga is to take what works for you and your gifts and offer them to others. You learn more about yourself and the practice when you are in conversation. It is powerful to experience a yoga class with your peers. It feels uplifting, and you bring one another to a higher level. You unconsciously put in more effort and feel more inclined to be at your best when you are in the company of others.

Integrated

Overall, everyone wants to be healthy, fit and at their best. Working out is not a bad thing if done intelligently. In fact, most yoga is a great workout. But to say yoga is only a workout is like saying music is only a sound. Yes, fitness is an important part of most modern yoga systems, but it is only a piece of a very dynamic puzzle. Yoga has staying power because it is a great way to align all facets of your life so that you feel more complete and healthy.

How To Ignite Your Yoga Practice In The Dead Of Winter

Find energy during the darkest months with these seven tips.

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In the heart of winter, there is a natural shift toward being a homebody and staying inside. It’s a great time of year to be more introspective, to focus on your well-being and to practice self-care. However, during the winter season, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of being sluggish, heavy and lazy. If you’re unwilling to recognize and change these bad seasonal habits, they can develop into a stagnant and low-energy lifestyle. In the cold, dark, quiet and lethargic winter, spark your energy by implementing these fiery changes in your yoga practice.

1. Turn up the heat. 

One simple way to inspire more heat in the heart of winter is to turn up the heat. Literally. If it feels as if your body takes longer to warm up in regular yoga, try hot yoga. Bikram yoga is great if you like to work on refining your poses and hold them until you are pushing your edge of comfort. If you crave dynamic movement, hot vinyasa is fast-paced and offers a nearly constant flow of poses. Both are excellent options to sweat it out.

2. Breathe

If hot yoga is not your preference, you can create heat from within yourself just by using your breath. There is a specific breathing technique whereby you inhale and exhale deeply and intentionally through your nose. Your inhalations should match your exhalations in duration, and should be consciously prolonged, but not forced or harsh. If your breath is audible to anyone but yourself, you are using too much effort to breathe. This specific breathing technique creates internal heat and works both while practicing yoga poses and sitting still.

3. Challenge yourself. 

There are many ways to challenge yourself in yoga. You can simply set a goal to attend 25 classes in a month. Some styles, like Bikram yoga, have 30-day challenges to give you a sense of how a consistent practice can benefit you. There are many Instagram challenges that are fun because you get to try new poses and start conversations about them. In your home practice, you can challenge yourself by practicing 108 sun salutations or 10 wheel push-ups. You can also use a timer to hold poses. It could be as mild as holding a down dog for five minutes or a low plank for 30 seconds. Or, it can be as spicy as attempting to hold a handstand or forearm stand for two minutes against the wall. This will give you direction and inspire a fiery passion. However, make sure it does not turn into a competition. As soon as you feel any physical pain, misalignment or you notice yourself becoming too rigid and tough on yourself, reassess your approach.

4. Listen to music. 

Sometimes it just takes some of your favorite tunes to get you off your couch and onto your mat. Create a fun playlist for your home practice. Put your headphones on when you have to venture outside to avoid cringing in the cold. Music inspires creativity and keeps your mind distracted from the weather.

5. Mix it up. 

When you feel stuck during the winter season, try something outside your normal routine, whether it’s a new yoga style, a completely different physical activity or a new hobby that’s completely unrelated to yoga. Often by trying new styles of yoga, it reignites your love for the practice. It shifts your perspective and keeps you thinking about and engaging with your practice during this stagnant time of year where the tendency is to shut down.

6. Take care of yourself. 

This time of year demands that you take care of yourself. Instead of fighting the urge to fall asleep early or to sleep in late, embrace it. Allow yourself to really be aware of how you are feeling this time of year. Self-care techniques, such as drinking a warm glass of lemon water in the morning, soaking your feet, following a regular morning routine of movement or exercise, or allowing time for rest and recovery help tremendously to keep you feeling healthy and invigorated.

7. Retreat. 

If the winter season is dragging and you’re feeling stuck, it’s a perfect time to plan a trip somewhere sunny and warm. This is a great way to break up the monotony of winter. There are many yoga retreats available to anyone and any level of student. If you do your research, you can find very affordable yoga retreats. By exploring new destinations and being around like-minded people, it often helps to recommit to your practice. If nothing else, you’re just going on a vacation to reset.