Chris and I typically have very different views on fitness and exercise. Check out our fitness chat post for more on this. We DO agree on some fitness-related things, including: bouldering, going for nature walks, and generally being active and playing with Ryerden (our 5 year old). Another thing we enjoy doing together is yoga. We practice yoga together, and we also like to discuss other aspects of yoga besides asana practice (yoga postures) including mindset.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. Please consult with a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional for any medical concern you may have, as well as before starting a new diet or exercise program. Full disclaimer
In my opinion, Chris has a very yogic mindset. He tends to live life in the present moment and responds to life as it happens. Chris doesn’t get overly stressed about much of anything. He doesn’t overthink things and is also very good at letting things go, and moving on. He is typically very balanced in his approach. I aspire to be more like Chris in this way! I tend to overthink things, over research, and generally worry and stress over things much more than he does. I also get so worked up sometimes that I end up sliding to the other end of the spectrum where I’m feeling really down, dull, and completely uninspired. I even made Finding Balance one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2021. You can find out more about my resolutions and areas of focus for the coming year plus 5 healthy weight loss tips here.
Yoga is sometimes viewed as solely a fitness or exercise activity, but there is so much more to it, including yogic philosophy, meditation, mantra, and living yoga off of the mat just to name a few. Sometimes yoga is also looked at through the lens of perfectly posed “instagram-worthy” photos, and while those images and posts may be beautiful, strong, and sometimes inspiring, they can also cause people to be intimidated to try yoga and can give the impression that yoga is not for everyone.
You do NOT have to be flexible to practice yoga. You don’t have to be a certain size or look a certain way. You don’t have to wear Lululemon or any other specific type of athletic wear. Be yourself. Come as you are. Yoga is for everybody!
Not every style of yoga is suitable for everyone. That being said, anyone can practice yoga, whether it is through meditation, chair yoga, restorative yoga, or a more vigorous practice like vinyasa or power yoga. I started yoga as a way to complement my dancing and to increase flexibility. I despised the integration portion of class (lying still at the end of class). In the beginning, I found it extremely difficult to remain still, and my mind would be racing the whole time. I honestly didn’t love yoga when I first got started. For some reason though, I kept coming back to it over the years and grew to love it. Yoga helped me to feel better. Yoga helped with my chronic pain. Check out Rachel from Sleepy Santosha for gentle yoga practices designed for people with chronic illnesses. I did many of her bed yoga and other gentle practices when I was suffering from severe asthma, endometriosis, and undiagnosed chronic pain and fatigue.
Because I suffered with chronic illnesses for so long, I sought to become a compassionate and gentle teacher who could share yoga with others who were also dealing with chronic health issues. I decided to attend a 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT) program. I learned so much, and I became a registered Yoga Teacher. I have changed a lot since starting to practice yoga, and especially since going through and completing the YTT program:
- I have a deeper understanding of yoga, but also know that there is SO much more to learn
- I have a deeper understanding of myself
- I feel calmer and more at peace
- my chronic pain decreased (Therapeutic Yoga Training, diet, and other lifestyle factors also contributed to this improvement)
- my asthma has improved to the point where I don’t need medication (Therapeutic Yoga Training, diet, and other lifestyle factors also contributed to this improvement)
- I’m more patient
- I’m more compassionate
- I feel stronger (mind and body)
- My general outlook on life has shifted – I feel more balanced and more relaxed in general
Yoga doesn’t make your life perfect, but it can help you to build awareness of yourself and create new patterns of thought, movement, and behaviour that can improve your life.
Chris has felt the following improvements:
- improved sleep quality
- general calmness
- release of tension in the body
I do my best to maintain my daily yoga practice (even if it’s only 5-10 minutes out of my day). Chris likes to do yoga a few times per week. We like to practice yoga together, and we also love to do yoga together as a family.
We’ve included a simple 5 minute practice in the video above. You can follow along and share in the practice with us; or watch to see what a short and simple practice might look like. Always go at your own pace when practicing yoga or doing any other type of physical activity. Yoga is about YOU! It is not about comparison between yourself and what the instructor or others in class look like while moving through the postures. Move mindfully and listen to your body as you go. If something hurts or doesn’t feel quite right, ease up, or gently come out of the posture. Remember that it is acceptable to restore yourself to an earlier pose or bring yourself into a comfortable posture such as sitting cross-legged, standing tall in mountain pose, or even lying down on your back. Focus on your breath, allow your body to relax, and enjoy.