Just so you know, it took me hours to come up with that title. Haha
It was three years ago when I first tried yoga. During that time, I was a first year medical student
occasionally usually being burnt out by all the readings and stress. I also noticed that I have gained some weight due to months of drinking unlimited cups of coffee and mindless eating.
I wanted an exercise that would help me lose weight, build and tone my muscles, and at the same time, would only take away a bit of my time. I found (and really like!) two exercises — Power Yoga (aka Vinyasa) and Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred.
I was browsing for videos on Youtube and found Bryan Jones’ channel. He has uploaded a lot of yoga videos which are really made for those who want to practice yoga at home. I liked “Power Yoga with Bryan Jones” the most and I’ve been following it ever since. This type of yoga has more “cardio” components incorporated in it, hence making weight loss more possible.
It was really challenging at first since I had no previous yoga experience. It was a good thing that he also uploaded warm up and cool down clips on his channel. During the first few days of practice, I really felt my muscles being stretched to the limit. I have never felt that much muscle ache in my life! But, with continuous practice, I got used to the poses and noticed improvement on my stamina. I also lost some weight (just a bit since I also developed more muscle, I could feel it!). My body became more toned, and less flabby, especially on areas such as the arms and the butt! I still have soft arms (due to residual fat and skin from losing a lot of weight a few years back) but I am proud of my newly achieved muscle mass, thanks to Power Yoga (and Jillian Michaels)!
Yesterday, I attended the “Gift of Yoga” event organized by the NGO, SIFCare. It was apparently the International Yoga Day (actually declared by the United Nations). Hatha yoga is a new concept to me and I only learned about it during the event (afternoon session). Compared to Power yoga, it was more focused on meditation, relaxation, and stress reduction. There was an emphasis on having a correct breathing strategy. Basically, I learned that upon inspiration, your abdomen (versus the chest) should be the first to expand (read: don’t be ashamed to bring out your belly) and the last to shrink upon expiration. I was not sweating like a pig, just calm and happy throughout the session! It was really relaxing, I even felt like I wanted to go to bed while the session was on-going!
While waiting for the afternoon session of the “Gift of Yoga” event held by SIFCare at the Makati Shangri-La, June 21, 2015
My sorority sis-turned-yoga buddy, Cat
I know yoga can be intimidating at first, especially since only a few people practice it and not every gym in Metro Manila offers yoga classes. Moreover, yoga studios usually charge a lot per session. But, a lot of videos are already available on the internet so one can easily practice it at home. Also, trust me on this, yoga is easy to learn especially if you are open to trying out weird (admit it, sometimes, weird is good) and challenging poses. There are poses that would really require you to keep trying for a number of times before getting them right. The point is to focus on yourself and not compare your performance with others (especially if you’re in a yoga class and not doing it alone), just like what the instructor kept saying during the event.
For me, the way to practice yoga (or any other exercise) is like how you should face life – stand back up when you fall, and just keep on trying until you make it! Also, you don’t have to take everything too seriously. So, if you’re looking for a new exercise to try, or just curious about yoga, now is the time to start! There’s no other activity that will help you relax, meditate, and lose weight all at the same time. Also, note that aside from Power (Vinyasa) and Hatha, there are other types of yoga — Bikram, Kundalini, Iyengar, etc (I think I stopped speaking English for a while, LOL). But hey, there are lots of articles and videos on the internet about these. I have yet to read about them, actually. If you’ve tried some of these yoga styles, please do leave a comment about the experience!