If we treat exercise as a chore, it will always end up at the bottom of our ‘to do’ list beneath the pile of ironing.
Life is hard enough already. Between trying to eat our vegetables, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, taking our vitamins, paying the bills, there’s not much time for pleasure and fun.
So if you feel like you have to drag your arse to the gym each week or force yourself to workout, it’s not going to last.
When I was younger, I thought that exercise had to be intense to ‘count’, and that pain was a sign of progress. While there are plenty of people who love a hard-core intense workout, I’m not one of them. I’m not knocking hardcore workouts; I’m just suggesting that there’s an alternative.
I used to use exercise as punishment. If I drank too much the night before or ate too much pizza, I would punish myself with a hard workout the next day. This same person would reward me for a hard work out with drinks and snacks too.
I found it hard to stay committed for more than a few months at a time. I would start off feeling super motivated and inspired, but then I would dread the intensity, and I would bargain and plead with myself to keep going.
It was only because of an injury that I was forced to change my ways and ditch the hardcore workouts.
I stopped exercise and just started to move my body in ways that felt good.
I began walking home from work each day. Pretty soon I was racking up 30km a week, and I have kept this up for over a decade. Walking and listening to podcast/audiobooks is my favourite kind of movement, followed closely by yoga and swimming.
When I started moving for pleasure and enjoyment, it was so easy to stick to a routine because I look forward to it. I don’t have to drag myself to go walking, swimming or yoga because I’ve found ways to move my body that feel amazing.
Do something you love, and it will never feel like hard work.
The other benefit of pleasurable movement is that it will be sustainable. It’s impossible to stick to a gruelling exercise regime for long periods. Yoga has helped me heal my relationship with myself and my body. I’m no longer at war with my body and her flaws, so I no longer need to punish and deprive myself through strict routines because I love and trust myself.
Moving our body for pleasure rather than punishment is the ultimate form of self-love. In this way, Yoga is the motivation and the reward.
Overcoming burnout and exhaustion
Many women are drawn to intense exercise as a way to manage their stress and stay on top of their game.
But when we’re exhausted, intense exercise creates more stress hormones in the body and leads to burnout. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol actually lead to weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, inflammation, muscle tension, depression and anxiety.
So if your body already has high levels of cortisol from chronic stress, then hardcore exercise is adding fuel to a very unhealthy fire. If you’re super stressed, can’t sleep, have lots of aches and pains and can’t lose weight even when you try really hard, it might be time to ditch the gruelling exercise regime and do something pleasurable and gentle.
Your body, mind and nervous system will thank you for it.
Consistency is the key to results.
It’s the little things, done consistently over time that add up to create big results. If it takes us 3 days to recover from a hardcore workout, it’s going to be really hard to stay motivated and stick to our routine. Whereas if we look forward to our daily yoga, we won’t put it off, we won’t resist it, and we won’t find an excuse not to go.
The reason that people get stronger and lose weight with yoga is not that yoga burns more calories. The reason that people get results with yoga is that yoga feels so good that it’s much easier to stick with. We don’t need much motivation or convincing to go to yoga because we know it makes us feel so much better physically and mentally.
Beware of the Yoga Withdrawals
It’s common for people who used to hate exercise to become yoga addicts and attend 4-5 classes each week. They become so accustomed to feeling good that they forget what it’s like when they stop practising. This is when Yoga Withdrawals kick in, and the yogi will get straight back o their yoga mat to avoid the symptoms of Yoga Withdrawals:
The benefits of regular yoga
We start yoga for fitness and flexibility, but what keeps us coming back is that yoga feels good mentally. Beyond the feel-good exercise endorphins, yoga is proven to calm and relax the mind.
Yoga slows down our brainwaves. The speed of communication between the neurons in our brain is measured in waves. Different frequencies in brainwave speed correspond to different states of mind.
Our modern lifestyle puts most of us in a state of constant Beta brainwave thinking. Beta waves are very rapid. They’re needed for linear thinking and high focus. However, Beta brainwaves are also associated with stress and the ongoing release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol in small doses makes us alert and ready for action. It is the hormone triggered by high stress, high pressure, threats and deadlines. It’s really useful for about 20 minutes, but after that, it causes inflammation of our entire bodies.
Beta brainwaves and cortisol go hand in hand.
Since we live in a Beta brainwave world where we are constantly over-pressured and over-stimulated, our health and well-being are affected if we don’t find ways to slow down our brainwave frequency each day.
For centuries yoga and meditation have been used as a way to slow down beta waves and stimulate relaxing alpha waves. We experience the slower, more relaxed Alpha brain waves when we’re in Savasana. Savasana is more than a rest at the end of our yoga class; it’s where our practice transitions from the physical to the mental realms of yoga. Its where our Beta Brainwaves slow down, and our mind can rest. Just a few minutes in peaceful Savasana can feel like we’ve had a nap for an hour, that’s how restful it is.
Our yoga practice uses our body and breath as tools to calm the mind.
We can teach you how to Cultivate Calm.
Our Brisbane Yoga studio specialises in teaching yoga to beginners. We’re more interested in how you feel on the inside than what you’re wearing or if you can stand on your head.
Our Brisbane yoga classes will teach you to respect and honour your body and how to find modifications that feel good in your body. We will encourage you to use your breath to find your centre and to stay present with the sensations in the body.
We don’t offer any fancy gimmicks or tricks. The yoga we teach is designed to help you appreciate your body for what it can do, soothe your nervous system so that you can get out of the fight/flight response and make peace with your busy mind.
We offer more Yin Yoga classes that any other Brisbane yoga studio as Yin Yoga is the perfect antidote to stress and anxiety. We also offer heaps of beginner-friendly yoga classes for newbies and people who want a gentle practice.
Leave a comment below if you love yoga too.