Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why I love yoga

Have you ever thought of trying a yoga class, but haven’t? There are so many misconceptions about it.
First, I practice mostly a power yoga (vinyasa, ashtanga based) so it is quite athletic.
I hear a lot of - ‘yoga is not for me. I need to run, jump, and workout.’ Let me tell you power yoga is a GREAT workout. Most people are surprised at just how much of a workout it is.
I also hear a lot of – ‘I’m not flexible enough for yoga.’ Ummm…. Then you NEED yoga. Besides yoga is not just stretching! (another misconception). It builds strength, flexibility and endurance. A power yoga class consists of lunges, push ups, core work, backbends, hip openers, BREATHING and more.
Yoga is not about wrapping yourself up like a pretzel. It is about strengthening and opening your body in ways you never knew possible.
Yoga frees your body – and your mind. You let go of thoughts and just go for it. There is such a child like quality to practicing yoga , and let’s face it, being an adult can be overwhelming with responsibility. Getting to be childlike on my mat several times a week helps me stay SANE. I can breathe, twist, lunge, backbend, float up in the air – for fun!
And yoga IS fun. It beats the treadmill or sitting on a bike for an hour ANY day of the week. A lot of people go to the gym because they have to. Most yogis go to class or practice on their own because they LOVE to.
I love the way yoga makes me feel – energetic, free, flexible, pliable, childlike, open, peaceful and strong – very strong.
My workouts used to make me feel tired, sore, stiff, with achy joints. Yuk! Who wants that.

Did you know that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (one of the greatest basketball players of ALL time) practiced yoga? It made him able to play professional basketball for TWENTY seasons. Imagine! Twenty seasons. Yoga helps keep your body free from injury.

Think of it like this – if you are stiff and tight, and someone comes running into you, you’ll snap – break! Just like a hard, stiff branch would. However, if you are pliable and loose, you’ll bend and bounce back. Doesn’t that sound better?

Most of us out there under estimate the amount of strength we can get from flexibility. Think of a gymnast! They are some of the strongest athletes out there. If you can work your joints to their full range of motion, then of course you will be stronger. If you can’t squat down so your hips are lower than your knees because of lack of flexibility - well imagine how strong your legs would be if you COULD do that.

Power yoga is a rigorous form of yoga that uses a flowing series of poses practiced in continual and rapid succession. You never stop moving – and most classes are 75-90 minutes! Of non-stop strengthening, stretching, stamina increasing poses. Sure – you may be still and hold a Downward Dog or a lunge for 1-2 minutes or so –which is harder than moving – imho. Have you ever tried to hold a static lunge for over a minute? Brutal! But you build strength here, you breathe, you increase your range of motion (SO important for sports and as we get older), and your body will love you for it.

My yoga teaching schedule is below. All classes are held at the Newton Y on Church St. Drop-ins are $15.

Mon nights, 6:30-7:30pm, Yogalates, the first half of the class is basic hatha yoga, and the second half is all pilates core work.

Tues nights, 6:30-7:45pm, Power Yoga, a vigorous flowing yoga linking one pose to the next, working up a sweat.

Thurs nights, 6:30-7:45pm, Hatha Yoga, a gentler class with lots of stretching and core work.

Of course all classes consist of breath work linked to the poses. BREATHE - it makes you feel good. :)

See you there!

P.S. Yes - the pictures here are of me. I debated whether or not to post these. It is not to show off - but simply to show you what is possible.


  1. Hi Gina,
    Thanks so much for posting your yoga schedule - I definitely need to try your Tuesday night class glad there are drop in rates.

    And GREAT photos of you!
    Best, Jan

  2. Sure thing Jan! Would love to have you come to a class. If you ever know ahead of time, tell me and I'll see if I can get you a pass.