Just Yoga – Nothing Else
May 5, 2020 Posted by Y2 Yoga Blog
Yoga, for a lot of people, isn’t considered *just* a workout. It’s a lot more. It can be super challenging, yet fun at the same time. We know for a fact a lot of our yogi’s who are coming in to take our Single and Double Shot’s are challenged during each class, but aren’t looking at it like a workout. It feels really good, and it’s fun. The movements along with the music can feel like you’re dancing, the sweat can feel like an exfoliation, or a release of tension and stress, and the breathing can feel like meditation. So yes, yoga is hard, but it doesn’t feel like you’re in a gym getting your reps in for the day. It’s a much different process. And for some, much more enjoyable.
Those reps you’re doing in the gym, and those miles you’re running on the treadmill, aren’t as fun (*most likely*), however, fitness is health, and health is necessary. You can’t only work specific muscles. You have to work them all, and move each one differently. So mixing it up is necessary to improve your fitness, and overall health.
BUT – what if we told you there’s a way to get all your workout and health needs by just doing yoga? Sounds impossible, we know. But surprisingly, there are a lot of people who rely on yoga, and just yoga to stay fit and healthy. Which is why we are passing this blog along to someone who has been doing this for an entire year now, and doesn’t seem to want to stop anytime soon.
Rest of this blog written by: Mallory Marie
I realized I needed to start working out, and incorporating fitness into my lifestyle when I was 13 (I didn’t do much but drink soda, eat cheese-its and watch TV). My mom got me into running, and I started running every single day and began to force myself to love it. Some runs were enjoyable, the other 85% of them, I didn’t enjoy that much. A couple years later, I started adding various types of workouts into my fitness regimen to improve, and to mix it up a little bit; like core-centered workouts, body weight workouts, HIIT, weights, etc. Then, in 2016, I found yoga, and fell in love, fast. It was so challenging, yet I didn’t feel like I was actually working out. It was the only thing I looked forward to. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give it 100% of my attention because I of course, had to keep up my other workouts. I then became a certified yoga instructor, and along with that, a certified personal trainer through NASM. I made fitness my whole life in hopes of one day actually enjoying the gym (which I secretly didn’t). Fast forward to May of 2019, I got a full-time job (and if you’re wondering, the job is Marketing for Y2 Yoga – my favorite place in the world).
Before I worked full-time, I usually carved two hours out of my day to get my own personal workout in. One hour was spent doing all “gym” related stuff, and the other hour was blocked out so I can head down to Y2, and do something I actually enjoy doing – yoga. Now that I worked full-time, there wasn’t anyway I could carve out those two hours without being extremely exhausted (If you’re ever at Y2 – after COVID – no matter what time it is, there’s probably a 99% chance I am upstairs working in my office). So, all I really had time for was 1 workout a day. And there was no way I was going to waste on something I hate doing, but being a personal trainer, I knew how important it was to workout each muscle, and move them *each* in different ways. There was no way I could avoid the gym.
I was wrong. After thinking it through and using my personal training brain one last time, I put together the method to using yoga, and just yoga for my workouts. Here’s how:
How To Use Just Yoga For Your Entire Fitness Regimen – Tips & Method:
- I follow the Y2 power flows. to start this off, I want to say that I use Y2 Double and Y2 Single Shot classes and sequencing – because it’s genius. It really works.
- Various Styles. Even though you’re doing just yoga, you still have to mix it up. Maybe for one flow, it’s very core-centered. Extra Cheetah holds, maybe when you’re about to take your vinyasa, hold that high plank for 30 seconds every other round. You can add little things to make sure that your core is burning the entire time. Or maybe to really focus on your arms, chaturanga push-ups instead of chaturanga’s the whole flow. To focus on cardio, move faster than normal (I recommend going *as fast as can be controlled* – meaning, if you can’t do the postures correctly at the speed you’re going, slow down!). I don’t want this blog to go crazy long, so if you want more specific answers or questions, email me – [email protected]
- Drills. Super important. There are really cool drills you can do and I will give you one example: put on a pair of socks, start in a high plank, untuck your toes (so the tops of your feet are on the floor) and slide your feet as close as you can to your wrists without bending your knees, then slide them all the way back to high plank position, re-tuck your toes, and do one chaturanga push-up, and start the process all over again. Instead of a whole flow one day, take a 30 minute Y2 warm up, and then focus on some drills.
- Ankle weights. One of my biggest reasons for only doing yoga. I put them on my ankles, and wrists. It’s the easiest way to challenge yourself, improve strength, and get the most out of your practice. There’s a right way to do this, and a very wrong way, so here’s my advice: when it comes to the weights – START SMALL. I started with 2lbs on each limb, then increased slowly over time to 6lbs (which took me an entire 12 months by the way). I recommend starting maybe at 1.5 if you can find some. And once you move up in weight, still bounce around and move through different lbs. Maybe one day grab your 5lbs, then the next day only use 2, etc. And – GO SLOW. You have extra weight on both arms and legs. So there’s a big con that is also a pro – if you are not engaging each muscle 100% of the time, you could potentially injure yourself. Think about the pose side plank. Have you ever fallen backwards in side plank? Maybe a few times? If you’re going to the side plank variation – “wild thing” (top foot in side plank behind your back), and you’re not going slow and/or controlled with all muscles engaged, you can potentially injure your back. To prevent that, your core and glutei (booty muscles) have to be engaged like crazy, so does the rest of your body. The pro is that you will always be engaging your muscles, your body will be on fire and you’ll become stronger! The con is, if you don’t engage, go slow, and give it your all, the risk of injury is higher. If you want more information and methods to safely incorporate ankle weights into your workouts, email me! ([email protected])
- Less is always MORE! I learned this the hard way. Remember when I said I carved out 2 hours of my day for fitness? No no no. Your body needs rest to become stronger, and doing the right movements in a shorter period of time, tends to give more results. Incorporating healthy eating, and working out as little as 3 times a week can alter your life like crazy.
- Lean towards how you *FEEL*. How you feel should effect your decision making during this process. Not how you look. The more you focus on how you physically feel to make your workout decision (decisions being whether or not you should practice, or if you should use ankle weights etc etc), the more you’ll actually achieve what you’re looking for. Don’t burn out, or overdo it to the point of injury.
- Don’t stress. Of course, stress is unfortunately apart of everyday life.When I say don’t stress, I mean don’t focus so much on the fact that you’re making a giant change in your fitness regimen, a giant change you might not trust as much yet. A lot of people get into fitness to: improve their health, feel better physically and mentally, and re-shape their body (gaining or losing weight). So, to trust that this method can help tone your body, make you physically stronger and keep you healthy is difficult, and nobody likes change. If you want to try this out for a while, but are a little attached to your old ways, try slowly getting into it, keep those old routines but wean off them slowly. Start with yoga twice a week and your old routine the other 5, then yoga 3 times a week and your old routine 4 days, and so on.
- Your mind is power. One of the reasons I feel so good today, is because once I gave up something I really didn’t like at all that I felt obligated to, I felt free. Feeling free made me extremely happy. When you are happy mentally, that will improve your physical self tremendously. Mind and body connection people. It is real.
That’s pretty much it. I was very nervous at first, however I am super happy because I’m one of those people that really don’t like to grab those bands and all that excess equipment, and I don’t like running either outside or in place (I have the joints of an 80 year old, and I can never find the right sports bra ….), but I want to be strong, feel strong, and continue to be healthy. Yoga is the only workout I don’t mind, and it doesn’t feel like a workout to me. It’s a huge part of my mental health as well, and to skip a few days of that to go do something that doesn’t necessarily make me happy, isn’t something I want to do. I will say my health has improved and I am a lot stronger than I used to be.
This is just a method for people out there thinking they are attached to all this fitness stuff. You aren’t. There are so many ways to get healthy, and stay healthy. If you like running, and going to the gym, go do it! The point of this blog is to let you all know, there’s always another option, another door to go through, and another solution you probably haven’t through of yet. You are never stuck. You always have a choice. Go be free (at home until COVID is over).
Thank you for reading! Please stay happy, healthy, and safe!