Yoga for the Best Version of Yourself

  • In Weight Loss Challenge

By:  Hannah Purbe, Sporting Club Director of Group Fitness & Personal Training 

When Nicole, Lizzy and I started talking about the weight and fat loss challenge we wanted it to be about more than just a number on the scale. We wanted people to reach the healthiest version of themselves through nutrition and exercise. As we are at week 6 of the challenge, we hope that everyone has a good understanding on how to increase the intensity of their workouts and how to make smart food choices to reach their fitness goals. At this point your muscles might be hurting more than usual therefore; we would like to talk to you about yoga and mindfulness as an important and effective tool to help you to stay on track even after the challenge is over.

The practice of yoga supports physical, mental, and spiritual development to create the best version of yourself. When I started doing yoga 10 years ago, it increased my awareness on many levels. It made me more conscious of how different foods affect one’s mind and body and allowed me to keep the intensity of my workouts high while maintaining good mobility and staying injury free.

A 2016 study suggested that people who develop mindfulness through a yoga practice may be better able to resist unhealthy food and comfort eating. They may also become more in tune with their body so that they notice when they’re full. For these reasons and others, yoga is thought to be beneficial for those who are struggling to lose weight.

If you are a beginner, start slowly and gradually build up your practice. This allows you to build up your strength and flexibility and prevent injuries. If you don’t have time for a full class on certain days, do a self-practice for at least 15-20 minutes.

This is my routine that I practice when I cannot make it to a class. The key is to relax and disconnect for a moment. For me, that means listening to classical music and focusing on deep breathing.

I hold each pose/stretch for 30-60 seconds or 3-5 deep breaths.

Video 1:

Stretch 1 targets your hip flexor, stretch 2 your hamstring and stretch 3 your IT band and your hip. These 3 stretches keep my lower back and hips happy. I stay on the same side and I do 3 sets in each stretch for the 3-5 breaths before switching sides.

Video 2:

Stretch 2 targets hamstrings and calves but will also open the back as you transition into what I call spinal waves.  Stretch 2 (just sitting up, with shoulders down and palms facing forward) opens my knees and ankles and stretch 3 opens your shoulders and thoracic spine. If you are in front of a computer all day, this third stretch is crucial.