Relaxation - Endurance - Stress Management - Flexibility
What do all these things have in common? First, they are all things we need to work on improving in our busy American lifestyles. Getting better at these areas has long been advocated by health experts as a way to increase our quality of life, reduce the risk of injury or illness, and even to live longer!
Second, these are all benefits of working out with Yoga! Hatha yoga - the physical yoga postures or "asanas" that most of us associate with yoga exercise - is a great way to build muscle, increase the range of motion in our joints, and create an opportunity for calm, balance and relaxation in our daily schedules. Now before you get nervous that I'm going to go all "transcendental" on you, don't worry! Although yoga traditionally does include a lot of spiritual, meditative and holistic practices, you can get many of the benefits of a yoga lifestyle by just incorporating a little yoga fitness workout routine into your weekly schedule. Whether you can do 60-minutes 3x per week, or squeeze in some Sun Salutations for 15 minutes every morning - even a moderate increase in your activity level through the incorporation of yoga practices can help.
One of the biggest objections many people have about working out with yoga is over the fear that they don't have time for exercise. Working out at home with a yoga fitness DVD can be a great solution to the problem.
I know your schedule already feels jam-packed and you're worried you won't have time for yoga. As a full-time-mom (all parents are full-time in my opinion - you never stop worrying about your kids!) and a business-owner, I find that there are never enough hours in the day to do everything I want to. However, it's important to prioritize your health and make time for replenishing your body and spirit on a daily basis. Exercise is a great way to do that. When you work out at home with a yoga fitness DVD, you can squeeze in your exercise whenever you have time. Before dawn when the house is quiet, when the kids are napping or the family's watching TV downstairs, or even as a family activity that encourages everyone in the household to be active and share time together.
Another concern that many people have about yoga exercise is that it's going to be expensive. Yoga has certainly enjoyed a period of "trendiness" lately and with yoga classes sprouting up all over the country at elite gyms and studios, it's easy to see how yoga has gotten the reputation for being expensive. However, remember that yoga was developed by ascetics in some of the poorest areas of the world. You have more than they do in terms of material possessions - if they can do it, you can do. Although you don't "need" anything to practice yoga, and you can even learn it for free with some workout videos from the library or picture books that show you step-by-step what to do, I recommend that you start with two essentials: A yoga mat to enhance your comfort and safety while doing the poses, and a good instructional yoga video to lead you through a workout or two that you can follow and enjoy over and over again.
For the price of a class or two at the local yoga studio, you can get everything you need to workout at home.
I encourage you to look into yoga exercise as a total body workout, or a supplement to your existing exercise routine.