Workout Wednesday: Yoga

This week’s SweatBetes video is yoga! Yay, I’ve made it through all four workouts in the series at least once. For me, this is an accomplishment.

The routine is mostly stretches with a bit of balance in the middle. This video is 30 minutes straight through. No breaks. So I didn’t go on the stationary bike after.

Here is my data:

  • Starting BG = 196. Higher than I like to be. It was mid-afternoon, and I was feeling the doldrums.
  • Drank 8 oz. water
  • Yoga for 30 minutes
  • Ending BG = 173, a decrease of 23 points.
  • Drank 8 oz. water

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Yoga! It looks so easy! Yeah, but I’ve tried it once or twice before so I know better.

I have to say I was a little surprised at how good I felt after. I felt refreshed and re-energized. I suspect all that conscious breathing helped. When I previewed the video I found myself breathing deeply and evenly even though I wasn’t doing the poses. At the end of it I felt very calm.

Corinna: The yoga routine seems to be mostly stretches with a little bit of balance in the middle. Is there a particular reason you took this approach?

Ginger: It’s beginner’s yoga! If I included too many strength poses, I would be increasing the level of difficulty to a point that may limit how many people are able to practice with the yoga. Also, stretching is really important! All three other exercises are about building strength, so it’s important to counter-act that strength with stretching. For instance, having strong hamstrings is great…but tight hamstrings that never get stretched is a really common cause of low back pain!

And balance exercises! Oh, I love including these with any client or workout because we would never find ourselves naturally practicing these movements very often in our day-to-day life, and balance is one of those things that you definitely “lose” if you don’t “use” it! Especially for those in their 40s and 50s, practicing and strengthening your balance skills is important to maintaining better balance as you get older!

Corinna: A couple of the stretches were familiar to me. In fact, the first sequence reminded me a lot of Sun Salutation. Is that what it is?

Ginger: A “sun salutation” serves two main purposes: First, it’s a great way to start gently moving the body for the sake of warming up. Practically every yoga class will start with some version of a sun salutation for this purpose, but depending on the style and intensity of the class, that sequence will be more or less intense and challenging physically. The second is because a sun salutation is kind of like shaking the Etch-a-Sketch between each series of poses. It extends and contracts your spine in a gentle, fluid movement, “clearing” the muscles before moving onto the next pose. There are many variations and ways to perform a sun salutation. For instance, the sun salutations in this yoga video includes “cobra” rather than “up dog” because it’s more gentle. It also doesn’t include as many “down dogs” or require you to hold them for as long as a usual Ashtanga yoga class would require you to. This is because I want to keep the level of intensity at a beginner’s level.

Corinna: The pace of the movements was a little too fast for me to keep up. There were several points where I just stood still waiting to join back in at the next starting point. Is that okay or did I end up missing out on part of the routine? I couldn’t help feeling like I was falling behind.

Ginger: Absolutely! And that is a pretty common feeling in yoga, because when you’re a newbie, the teacher can’t stop and explain every pose before going into it—it would just be too disruptive to the flow of the poses. Instead, just as you did, take it easy your first few times watching the yoga until you get to know the poses better, taking the pressure off yourself from feeling like you have to move at that pace.

Again, every yoga class is different, and I chose to keep the pace a bit speedier than a gentler form of yoga because I did want to get your heartbeat up a little. You’ll notice I didn’t title it “Gentle Yoga,” but instead “Beginner’s Yoga” for that reason! I want it to be a workout, not just stretching.

You could also keep the remote nearby and hit “pause” when you feel like you need a moment between poses to get ready for the next pose. Overtime, though, you’ll get to know the series better. You’d experience this same issue if you’d been going to “Jane’s” yoga class for months and months and then suddenly decided to go to “Alex’s” class instead. It’s going to be different. I think that feeling of “falling behind” is what deters many newbies from sticking with yoga, but it’s really important to just embrace that you’re new and enjoy the practice to the best of your ability!

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