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  • Ashtanga Yoga

    I'm wondering if anyone has experimented with yoga in the context of paleo dieting and longer recovering periods?

    I used to practice Ashtanga daily, but was vegan and way too low cal. at the time and all of that sent me into a decade of trying to recover my adrenal/ energy. (still working on that).

    I have been doing weights as per Body By Science for almost a year and have had good results, but still feel like a lot is missing. I don't have the same type of real world strength I felt when doing yoga and the flexibility is really gone. Doing a daily 90 min. ashtanga routine is too much for my body though (the chronic fatigue really kicks in). I'm wondering if others have tried a weekly yoga routine (giving a week of rest) in the same fashion as one would do a lifting routine and gotten good results?

    I would like to do this, but don't want to stop progressing with my strength at the rate that I have been with the weights. The intensity at any given moment is certainly not there with the yoga, yet after it is all over, certain areas are definitely worked more that they ever are with just the weights.
    PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread82059.html

  • #2
    I go to a 90min ashtanga class 1-2x a week. I used to go 3-4x a week, but last month I got sick during a week of that many yoga classes + nightly hours-long dance practices + not eating enough (+obvs being exposed to germs), and while I got over it just fine, it made me re-think whether I really needed to practice that often, especially because I enjoyed (and found more challenging and invigorating) half those lessons wayyyy more than the other half.

    I have been making gains/progress in terms of flexibility going 1-2x/week, and I think it's also been helping build some upper arm strength. I think it's a great idea to practice once a week and give yourself time to recover. I must say, though, for a few months last year I would practice yoga for nearly 2 hours most days of the week, and didn't see gains like I am now, partly because I have better (wayyyy better) instructors now who don't assume that I can't do certain things because of my weight, but also, I think, because of the other fitness benefits from following PB food/activity/de-stressing/sleep. So I think incorporating yoga once a week into whatever you're doing now will not be the same experience as when you were vegan and low cal.

    I hope that helped answer your question!
    Last edited by spakesneaker; 04-02-2011, 06:03 PM.

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    • #3
      thanks imasin,

      That does help. I have been doing weights once a week and not wanting to reduce that recovery time by adding in other workouts during the week, however, like I said before I really like the ashtanga benefits. I was strong back then, but gains in strength took FOREVER unlike on my weight routine now. Being paleo now though really adds a lot to the equation though. I have also thought that daily workouts don't give any time for muscle growth inbetween. The intensity of the yoga routine though is so different than weight training that I wonder if I would still see regular gains in strength as well as just straight up gaining pounds of muscle.

      My goal is to gain around 10 lbs of muscle before I start thinking of just maintaining. I've lost a lot from adrenal problems, mixed with nursing, and fatigue that meant being very sedentary. I think 10 more pounds would get me a bit above where I should be just to be "normal".

      Women that do daily ashtanga certainly do put on a good amount of muscle. I guess what I'm asking with all this chatter, is would they achieve that even faster by only practicing 1 or 2x a week?
      PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread82059.html

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      • #4
        I love yoga. I can't do it, but it is infinitely pleasurable to watch.
        In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PaleoMom View Post
          Women that do daily ashtanga certainly do put on a good amount of muscle. I guess what I'm asking with all this chatter, is would they achieve that even faster by only practicing 1 or 2x a week?
          Honestly I think muscle gain will probably depend heavily on food intake and quality, as well as sleep.
          And I think there is a confounding factor here--women who do daily ashtanga are likely healthy and physically fit to begin with.

          Yoga isn't as intense as weight training, for sure, but I do think that spacing yoga a few days apart from weight training will NOT interfere with your recovery from weight training, provided that you're eating enough good food and getting good-quality sleep. And it sounds like you're trying to heal from adrenal fatigue, for which yoga (in moderation) would be very helpful.

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          • #6
            I practice daily - but not ashtanga. I do a vigorous practice 1 - 2 times the week and the rest is restorative. I find I don't even need to lift weights, I'm building muscle and strength with yoga asana alone. I do find that I need recovery time from a vigorous vinyasa practice (1 - 2 days) and in that time, I've usually managed to build a bit of strength too.
            Robin
            ~primal mama to 3~

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            • #7
              i don't lift weights either, but i do various body weight exercises for fun.

              i do practice yoga daily, and i believe that any yoga can help -- once a week, twice a week, whatever. different styles do different things, and i think astanga primary series is a great practice for once/twice a week to get great benefits in flexibility and strength.

              i do not know about the 'speed' of certain goals with yoga. it's a rather goal-less practice in my own experience, but i can understand using it for certain results and seeing how to get those results most effectively (with style, sequence, frequency of practice, etc).

              i say try it and see what happens.

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              • #8
                Thanks to everyone that replied

                I think I might try adding it in 3-4 days after my weights and see what effect that has. If my rate of strength increase slows I'll know there isn't enough recovery time for both in one week, if it goes up then more is helping and if it stays the same I'm probably wasting my time to do two things a week.

                I'm thinking the tradition of daily yoga practice is coming from tradition of course and from a spiritual, emotional, start your day off right type of place. From a purely fitness stand point though, it seems logical to assume that strength would increase faster with more recovery time worked in. I certainly know that I didn't have much luck getting stronger with daily practice in the past. Of course I wasn't eating right either, but even with that it was shockingly poor progress.
                PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal
                http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread82059.html

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                • #9
                  I think if you are doing ashtanga or any type of vinyasa daily - then what you say is true. But, if a vinyasa practice is combined with a gentle more restorative practice, then I see nothing but benefit in incorporating a daily practice. Sometimes it's just about finding awareness & stillness - and that can be done by just sitting in meditation or laying over a bolster, kwim?
                  Robin
                  ~primal mama to 3~

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PaleoMom View Post
                    I think I might try adding it in 3-4 days after my weights and see what effect that has. If my rate of strength increase slows I'll know there isn't enough recovery time for both in one week, if it goes up then more is helping and if it stays the same I'm probably wasting my time to do two things a week.
                    Push your BBS workout out every two weeks and go to yoga as often as you can do it at a level you're happy with.

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                    • #11
                      i think part of the confusion around 'daily practice' is that people assume it means 'daily asana practice' when it really focuses on practicing yoga -- which is union with the divine itself -- and there are many practices that lead to this state of being, and so you practice those in order to have a daily experience of Yoga (in the sense of union with the divine) and if possible, an on-going sense of that (eg, enlightenment).

                      so, there are millions of ways to practice yoga daily without practicing asana (postures). there's pranayama -- breath work -- or living the yamas and niyamas (observances and abstentions) -- or meditation. or scriptural study. or chanting, or whatever.

                      A daily yoga practice is diverse in aspect.

                      physically speaking, yoga seems to be very different from other forms of fitness -- the more you do it, the better your body becomes, but that may be because of the "greasing the groove" affect -- but you also have to moderate it day by day, rather than "pushing" day by day. So, what nocturnalmama writes seems pretty much right in alignment with that.

                      in addition, the goals that you're talking about aren't all that important to "yoga" per se. they are important for an individual's goals regarding asana and utilizing it for specific purposes (such as strength, flexibility, whatever). but not really to the goal of yoga (though asana can also lead to the experience of yoga).

                      i think that, considering the goals that you seek with yoga and your particular circumstance, practicing once per week should be fine. If you discover that astanga is too intense for that one-time per week (eg, that you are having CFS symptoms again), then I would suggest switching to a different style -- anusara or even a more restorative style such as yin or svaroopa.

                      up to you though.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you,

                        I really "hear" all of you. I have never actually tried any of the more gentle/restorative yogas. I think I will look into some. I also really hear you about placing meditation into that space when a physical practice isn't right for me that day.

                        About the "greasing the groove" effect mentioned by zoebird... That was actually one of the reasons why I was wanting to come back to yoga. When I had a serious practice, I remember feeling so much stronger in everything that I did. I didn't feel like I got much stronger during my practice and my muscles didn't look like they grew much, but I felt strong. Right now I feel so weak and everything feels so difficult to do. Even though I am constantly add weights in my lifting routine, I don't really sense that gain in real life. I think because there are so many asanas, with so much movement involved and it is such a core building and whole body experience, that it isn't an isolated to yoga strength/skill. That was my experience, anyway.
                        PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal
                        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread82059.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The one-week recovery of BBS is in the context of a maximal effort that can only be sustained for 1-2 minutes, which is very different from most of the Ashtanga practice. Personally, being mid-way through learning the Primary Series, I find that I perform best when I've taken two to three days off consecutively, per week. I'm also one of those that likes to push it day by day, though I've learned a few lessons about moderating it -- hi, zoebird

                          Given the CFS, you'd want to either tone down the intensity, or do 1 day on, x days off depending on how you feel. I suspect that you could manage with less than 6 days off, but as always listen to your body.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks AndreaReina,
                            I think my body can tolerate as little as 2-3 day rest between Ashtanga sessions. Certainly not less at the moment. I'll watch closely to see if my lifting slows down as a result of the yoga in between. I'm also taking the yoga slow. I'm doing a full opening, standing poses and closing and then I'm going to add just one sitting pose a week. I'll know I'll burn out if I try more, or else I would have to cut out the vinyasas, which could become a bad habit . I was halfway through the 2nd series when I stopped before, so it feels quite odd to stop so early, but it seems to be feeling just right and I'm not feeling like I got hit by a train afterwards- which is my primary goal.
                            PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal
                            http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread82059.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                              i think part of the confusion around 'daily practice' is that people assume it means 'daily asana practice' when it really focuses on practicing yoga -- which is union with the divine itself -- and there are many practices that lead to this state of being, and so you practice those in order to have a daily experience of Yoga (in the sense of union with the divine) and if possible, an on-going sense of that (eg, enlightenment).

                              so, there are millions of ways to practice yoga daily without practicing asana (postures). there's pranayama -- breath work -- or living the yamas and niyamas (observances and abstentions) -- or meditation. or scriptural study. or chanting, or whatever.

                              A daily yoga practice is diverse in aspect.

                              physically speaking, yoga seems to be very different from other forms of fitness -- the more you do it, the better your body becomes, but that may be because of the "greasing the groove" affect -- but you also have to moderate it day by day, rather than "pushing" day by day. So, what nocturnalmama writes seems pretty much right in alignment with that.

                              in addition, the goals that you're talking about aren't all that important to "yoga" per se. they are important for an individual's goals regarding asana and utilizing it for specific purposes (such as strength, flexibility, whatever). but not really to the goal of yoga (though asana can also lead to the experience of yoga).

                              i think that, considering the goals that you seek with yoga and your particular circumstance, practicing once per week should be fine. If you discover that astanga is too intense for that one-time per week (eg, that you are having CFS symptoms again), then I would suggest switching to a different style -- anusara or even a more restorative style such as yin or svaroopa.

                              up to you though.
                              +10000

                              I recommend Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi as a great place to start and a mighty-good read.

                              Yoga is as simple as breathing.

                              All the rest is designed to improve your understanding of the body-mind-self-world continuum. If that connection isn't there, you're just doing aerobics, which is fine, but all depends what you are after.

                              As to your question, I'd recommend a mixture of traditional hatha yoga where you work on strength, breath, and alignment and a few relaxation/yoga-nidra/gentle classes where you work simply on being in your body and relaxing with huge benefits to mood, cortisol, and even the ability to discern between real and phantom hunger.

                              Bikram and Vinyasa (flow/power) are interesting too, but they tend to be more workout based, depending on how they are taught. I personally don't have a lot of love for the hyper-flow, flexibility is all that matters types of practice.

                              I like to breathe, make minor adjustments, and use my yoga time to focus on expanding consciousness, calming thoughts, improving awareness, etc.

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