You work hard to stay in shape. You eat healthy foods. You hit the gym three times a week. But lately, you’ve found yourself getting bored with the same old routine. Could yoga be the variety that spices up your workouts? Here are a few quick tips for fitting a practice into your fitness schedule:
Wake Up With Sun Salutations
You can reap the benefits of yoga with even the quickest practice. For example, if you start your day with an asana or two (instead of standing there like a zombie while the coffee brews), you will feel more awake and alert before you even taste your first cup of joe! That’s right - yoga trumps caffeine.
Some Poses To Try: Adding yoga to your morning routine is easy - just replace that yawn and stretch thing you usually do (you know the one). In its place, try some simple, deliberate movements. Cat-cow pose will wake up the spine, while downward-facing dog activates your leg muscles for the day ahead. Five minutes of yoga is all it takes!
Unwind At The Office
You know how dangerous long-term sitting is. Unfortunately, sitting is just a part of our lives - we sit in the car, at our desks, on our couches, and so on. If you want to limit your sedentary lifestyle (without becoming “that guy with the standing desk”), office yoga might be the perfect fitness solution for you.
Some Poses To Try: Office yoga doesn’t mean busting out the crow pose in the middle of a conference call. Instead, allow your body to enjoy little stretches. Stretch your wrists and hands for relief from constant typing. If you feel like you need some more movement, stand and stretch your legs with a warrior pose or a forward fold.
Cool Down After Cardio
Every runner knows the benefit of a good stretch after a workout. But did you know that you can actually recover faster if you replace the standard stretches with specific yoga poses? These movements are designed to increase your flexibility and strengthen your muscles, which makes them an essential part of any great cardio cool down.
Some Poses To Try: After you’ve finished a run, a zumba class, or any other form of cardio, give those hammies a little love with a forward fold or downward-facing dog. If you’re inner thighs are feeling the burn, stretch them out too with a lunge into warrior II. Breathe into the poses, and make sure you do both sides!
Do Some Between-Set Stretches
Yoga’s good for cardio, but how can it help you with lifting? The benefits are much the same; yoga can be a great way to loosen up the muscles in between sets. You will feel better at the end of your workout, and you may even be able to push yourself harder to get those gains!
Some Poses To Try: The best yoga poses for strength training tend to be simple ones, designed to help you find center (which can improve your strength and your focus). Start with mountain pose, then move into chair pose or a half fold, breathing deeply all the while. You’ll be surprised at how these little movements can change your workout.
Ease Into Your Evening
So, you’ve gone to work, hit the gym, and now it’s time for bed. But then you realize - you forgot your yoga practice for the day! Better luck tomorrow, you think. After all, there’s no way you can practice now, right? Wrong. Bedtime yoga is a great way to help you wind down and sleep sound.
Some Poses To Try: Bedtime yoga is different from its fitness-related cousins. This practice focuses on gentle movements that loosen the muscles without over-stimulating, help to put your body and mind in the right state for sleep. Gently twist the spine from a seated position, or spend time in child’s pose. Just be careful not to fall asleep right there!
As you can see, it’s easy to add yoga to your regular fitness routine. A little goes a long way, and there’s a pose for all your goals. Whether you want to wake up faster, fall asleep easier, or push yourself harder, there’s a practice for you. Now get out there and try it!