Yoga Evolution

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Royal Dancer balance position

In the last year, yoga has come to mean more to me than simply a way to exercise or a way to de-stress. It has become a grounding point for me. The lessons we learn on the mat carry over into life off the mat. The muscle memory we learn in yoga help us when pursuing sports and allows us to perform better, physically. The calming breathing techniques keep us calm in the midst of the crises that bombard our day. Are their times I practice a nice, loud lion’s breath exhale? Admittedly, only in certain company (or no company)! But, it’s the consistent practice and the experience that can keep you as cool as Patrick Swayze in the midst of a massive, ugly bar fight, Roadhouse style.

I have praised the youtube yogi sensation, Yoga with Adriene in a previous blog post. I still follow her and highly recommend her to anyone who is interested in yoga – whether a brand new yogi or an expeirenced one. She is professional, fun, and free. It’s hard to find the time to get out of the house and get to a yoga class. Parents need to take care of their bodies, minds, and souls. We have an incredible job of raising our youngsters, and raising them well. This is perfect!

Right now, I am following Adriene’s new series, True. I love that her dog, Benji, is just hanging out in the video with her. Usually, I have my dog, likewise, sleeping nearby, a little 2-year-old cat rolling around next to me, trying to attack my arms or my mat, and my 3 year old occasionally taking breaks from playing legos and jumping next to me on the carpet wanting to do “his exercise and his yoga.” His downward dog is solid. And what better way can I teach my kiddo a healthy lifestyle than by living it and being an example to him from the get-go?

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My short board praying for bigger waves. Shaped by famous board shaper Ricky Carroll at my friend Cliff Millender’s old surf shop back in da day. B-day gift from my husband seven years ago who bought it from Cliff.

We’re in surf season around here in the northern gulf. Winter/spring kicks up some good storms and some nice waves. Hurricane season will, too, but we don’t have to fear the weather channel right now. I’m a longboard girl, mostly because I started surfing later in life, and I live in Florida, but I’ve ridden my short board, and while I don’t really shred and won’t be trying as a wild card in any major surf competitions at the age of 41, surfing is something I can do the rest of my life, unlike other sports. And yoga supports my surf addiction, love for kayaking, as well as my newfound love for paddle boarding. Yoga helps my balance. I remember to lift up from my center and correct the alignment of my core while paddling. I can control my surfboard and my paddle board better because of my yoga practice and muscle memory. I can run around and play with my son, Mac. I throw a football better! I can help my husband move a piece of moderately heavy furniture. I no longer suffering from lower back issues, like I used to. None of us is getting younger, but we can feel younger in our bodies through the practice of yoga.

Whatever your workout regimen, work in a little yoga. You will not regret it.

Namaste,

J.

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Sunset, Big Island, HI

Yoga has saved my life.

Okay, a little dramatic, but it has surely saved my lower back. Yoga and a great physical therapist.
I have a common lower back issue with my sacroiliac joint, or SI joint. In the past, the pain has prevented me from living the active life I always have. Chiropractic care, while it serves a purpose, did not help me. Physical therapy, exercise, including stretching and yoga, keeps me active so I can play with my toddler, surf, kayak, and simply walk with no pain.

Benefits I receive from yoga:
1. My shoulders detach from my ears…I let go of stress!
2. Improved flexibility. I was a dancer when I was younger, and I still love to line dance and ballroom dance, occasionally. I am flexible, but yoga has helped me reach another level of flexibility.
3. Peace. I know I sound cliche, here, but releasing the stress, focusing on the stretching and balancing, frees me of daily worries.

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Ochos Rios, Jamaica

4. Physicality. I improve in other activities and athletics. Balance, flexibility, and focus flows over into other movement.
5. I smile more. I am a better person. Releasing the stress, focusing on breathing, balance, and stretching promotes mental and emotional stimulation in addition to the physical. Woods comma Elle said it best: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” – Legally Blond

Check out a yoga studio or a class at your gym. You can do what I do – yoga at home. Look for a yoga DVD and read reviews; I love the original P90X Yoga that is an hour and forty-five minutes. I usually don’t do the entire DVD, but when I do, it’s amazing! It comes with the entire program, but there are other yoga DVDs available.