I challenge you!

When was the last time you tried something new with your workouts? Do you always use the same cardio machines? Do the same weight routine week after week? Always take the same aerobic classes? Do you ever see something and think to yourself how much you would love to try it?

I took a deep stretch yoga class on Friday last week at the studio I go to regularly, Be Yoga in Charlotte, but it was in a different room than my normal Sunday night class. This particular day it was in the same room that aerial yoga is held. I had seen the class advertised but never thought too much about it. As I was laying there in my stretches (in deep stretch yoga you hold stretches for about 3 minutes per stretch) looking up at the silks hanging from the ceiling my curiosity started running. Of course the first thing that came to mind was I probably couldn’t do it because of my back.

Fast forward to Sunday when I arrived for my regular deep stretch class. When I was checking in I was asked which class I was there for. Turns out it was the first night they were offering beginner aerial yoga. I am always up to trying something new when it comes to fitness and this now had my full attention! I went to talk to the instructor, Josh, and told him about my back issues. He told me that I could modify (the best thing about yoga! Anybody can do it no matter your fitness level. There are so many modifications you can make and the instructors are always happy to show and help you!) so I told him I was in! The class was so much fun and didn’t bother my back!!! I did try 1 pose that didn’t feel great on my back so I immediately stopped and did it on the floor like I already knew how to do. It was a much different workout than I am used to but I loved pushing myself to new limits!

Look, no hands!

Look, no hands!

Just hanging out!

Just hanging out!

So this is my challenge to you… Try something new! Does your gym have TRX? Kettle bells? Have you taken a yoga class? Wondering about that spin class? Thinking about swimming for cardio? Do it! Stop talking yourself out of it and just go for it!

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Yoga Does Wonders!

Everything you read says how important it is to stretch when you exercise.  Some people say before, some say during and others say after you workout but the bottom line is stretching is important.  Confession… I rarely stretch and this is not a good thing!  When I am finished with my workouts I am ready to get out of the gym and on with my day.  However, on those rare occasions that I do stretch I feel so much better!

Last summer I heard about Deep Stretch Yoga.  This is different from normal yoga classes in that you just stretch the whole class.  You hold yoga poses for up to 3 minutes at a time.  It wasn’t until late October of last year that I finally went and tried a class.  What was I thinking waiting so long to try it?!  In my opinion this is the best class ever!  I have talked about my low back pain and this is excellent for it!  I didn’t realize that so many different muscles affect your low back.  The class does a good bit of lower body stretches (hamstrings, quads, hips) and these all affect the lower back.  Don’t worry, you also get to stretch your arms and shoulders good too.

I took a deep stretch class regularly for about 10 weeks and then stopped when the package I bought ran out.  Big mistake.  When going to the class I felt like a different person when I left than when I arrived just 75 minutes earlier.  Not only did my body feel a million times better but I was also so relaxed.  Normally I take evening classes but once I did a day class and I was such a better person throughout the whole day!  Something about yoga is so relaxing and peaceful.  There are no mirrors so you can’t see what you are doing and you can’t get distracted by what others are doing.  The lights are low, the room is warm, the music is light and relaxing and no one bothers you!

I have recently started back to help my back and I can already tell a huge difference.  I highly recommend this class!  If you do have pain or injuries be sure to tell the instructor so they can tell you how to modify the poses if need be (example, folding forward puts a lot of pressure on the low back so I lay on my back for these poses).  The great thing about yoga is it’s your practice so you do what you can.  It’s not a competition and no one cares what anyone else is doing (that’s the great thing about there not being mirrors!)!