I know this is an old thread but I would love if there was a yoga thread somewhere that was active. I find that yoga is that one exercise that I can do consistently everyday no matter how yucky I feel, I just end up feeling better. I find that HIIT work, lifting weights, walking, biking, swimming I do but don't love so I don't do consistent as I should. I have found that paleo/primal diet with daily yoga has been an awesome lifestyle plan for me. Not to mention I love the slimmer effect on my arms. I already have beefy arms until I get my bf low, I really need to work on longer muscles and toning.
By the way, the skinny girl workout, not too bad. However, it's more of a gym yoga then a true yoga. I like baron baptiste live series or Rodney Yee for yoga DVDs.
it might be noted that yoga doesn't really tone or make your muscles longer. I know that a lot of people think that way -- but that's more of a specific description of a 'look' as opposed to what is actually happening anatomically.
So, lets talk about that because it's interesting.
When we practice yoga, we are developing strength and flexibility in tandem or balance. It's body-weight exercise, and our bodies tend make muscle gains early on, which then taper off even though strength continues to develop. As the muscle gains happen, these tend to 'eat' the body fat -- assuming we're eating the proper amount of calories for our bodies and getting enough rest -- and then we get a "slimmer" overall look.
Also, since it works the whole body with different gravitational forces (ie, notice the similarities in structure of bow, camel and bridge, and then notice the differences in gravitational aspect and how that affects each posture), the overall look is very balanced.
This is what gives it the "long lean" look, whereas other forms of exercise often emphasize certain muscle groups. For exampel, swimming tends to emphasize shoulders, upper back, chest, and arms. So a person may look thinner below (waist down) and larger above (waist up). Bikers tend to be lean, but have larger legs and thinner upper bodies. Triathletes tend to have an overall athletic look, but also tend to be very tight (and thus loose agility).
So, the specific look of yoga (or the yoga body as it's sometimes called) is "relatively" universal in that you get a person who stands taller (since posture is everything), and then also has an overall balanced, agile look about them. And thus, look "tall and lean" as opposed to super strong in any given area.
Also, body type always plays a role. Endomorphs (or kaphas) have "long lean" looks within their type, even if they are "overweight" or "fat" or whatever other word one might use.
I really think it's the standing tall thing. :)
I find a yoga practice essential in my daily life, there are so many styles and many different applications. It works for me from a vigorous strength training, to deep relaxation, a meditative spiritual practice and a great mind-body unifier. Oh and the tantric practices can be amazing too ;) Love my yoga! Namaste :)
I happen to love Bikram style yoga and vinyasa flow classes myself. Because I am working towards weight loss, it's easy to set goals AND get a good caloric burn without "killing" myself.
Thanks zoebird, great information. Yoga does help me have better posture so my tummy is held in more and looks flatter. I am also toning everywhere when I do it consistently. I tend to a curvy hourglass kapha type of body that gains easily but I do have a small frame and very delicate ankles and wrists.
[QUOTE=mzteaze;903037]I happen to love Bikram style yoga and vinyasa flow classes myself. Because I am working towards weight loss, it's easy to set goals AND get a good caloric burn without "killing" myself.[/QUOTE]
I do vinyasa flow myself when I get to take a studio class. I can handle warm class but hot bikram is not my friend with high blood pressure, too high of heat gives me headaches and migraines. I am still definitely sweating and feeling muscles fatigue especially in arms and legs. I probably need to alternate with more core based yoga and oilseed but I haven't is because I loathe it. Lol
Edit- oilseed, autocorrect? I think I typed pilates. Lol
[QUOTE=cavequeen;903362]Thanks zoebird, great information. Yoga does help me have better posture so my tummy is held in more and looks flatter. I am also toning everywhere when I do it consistently. I tend to a curvy hourglass kapha type of body that gains easily but I do have a small frame and very delicate ankles and wrists.[/QUOTE]
I was just teaching on this today!
Throughout the practice of yoga, pelvic alignment is pretty much the starting point, but it's hard to find the right pelvic alignment. Most of us aren't using our gluteus medias properly, and as such, it's harder for the belly to engage.
If you do a quick exercise, stand in Mt pose, and see what happens with your lower abs in aprticular, between your hip bones.
Stand and stick your butt out, curving your lower back. You should feel a pinch/pain in the lower back when you do this (don't do it hard, it's just that you know you are 'there' when you feel that little pinch feeling). then test your lower abs. Do they feel loose? Is it hard to pull them in?
Then, tuck your tailbone well under, squeezing your whole butt, pushing the pubic bone forward. feel the lower abs again. Still loose? still lots of effort to "lift" them?
Finally, engage properly. stand tall from the feet upwards, and when you get to the pelvis, engage the gluteus medias. Draw the tailbone lightly down toward your heels, and feel a stripe of muscle run diagonally from your outer hip, down toward the line between the legs -- sort of following the panty line. You knwo you have it right when you feel that engage.
Then notice your lower abs. You'll probably notice that they "lift" themselves, no added effort from you.
Seriously, I love this stuff. :)
All yoga is core-based, so you don't have to go looking for it. :) And I find that I sweat enough without heat. it' smostly in the breathing. :D
I love incorporating a day or two of yoga in bw my Crossfit workouts and soccer games. My favorites are warm vinyasa flow and bikram. I like the structure of bikram, but I love the uncertainty and different flow of vinyasa.
I do have a hard time getting into Fixed firm. It's really the only one that kills my knees. An instructor told me its bc I've been an athlete all my life.... What's the deal zoebird? haha
On a side note,my athlete/superrrrr competitive side comes out in yoga. I know it shouldnt bc everyone's practice is different. I get it! I came across this hysterical blog post from Melissa hartwig, author of It Starts W Food. She described me to a T [url=http://whole9life.com/2011/09/yoga-for-the-type-a/]Yoga for the Type-A | Whole9 | Let us change your life.[/url]
I then also bought the shirt, "I can kick your ass in yoga. Namaste". I couldn't resist!!!
fixed firm is also called reclining hero's pose, and if your thighs are tight and your shins/ankles are tight, it's quite difficult indeed.
some good modifications are to put yourself on a prop (hips on a block), and make sure that you keep your knees all the way together when doing the posture, possibly even roll up a blanket under your ankles tops of your feet, and then just bring your hands behind you and press your chest up, creating the back bend without going all the way down.
I'm not sure bikram allows or teaches for these kinds of modifications, but I have several students who are still just sitting up when doing this posture, rather than going back at all. In fact, I don't teach it as a backbend until they've been at it a while.
but, once you are there, it's a sweet pose.