I fully admit it, I’m a yoga convert. I bloody love yoga but never thought I would. A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about the app Headspace and mentioned that to destress I had used every app/CD/recommendation under the sun. One thing that was recommended time and time again was yoga. Exercise is a big help to stress and anxiety, it has so many benefits and a particular one is chilling you out. So yoga, with it’s special unwinding properties goes one step further.
When first deciding to embark on a yoga journey at the beginning of January, it was cold and dark and miserable. I used to be a dancer but haven’t danced since I was 18 and I was terrified I wouldn’t be flexible enough for yoga. I decided I just didn’t want to attend a class. It’s so hard to fit it in after work as well, as most classes are either too late for me in London or too early at home in Surrey. So instead I joined the post-Christmas craze, succumbed to Amazon advertising and bought a yoga DVD.
I went for the Elements of Yoga: Air & Water with Tara Lee DVD after reading some really good reviews about Tara Lee’s DVDs and liking the areas it covered. Its focus was on calmness, almost meditating, and also flexibility which was an area I really wanted to improve. I currently run about three times a week (blog post coming soon!) so that’s my main form of exercise, I just wanted yoga to supplement this. To sit alongside running, with the dual benefit of de-stressing and also helping improve my core and flexibility.
On this DVD there are three 20 minute workouts. 20 minutes is really the perfect amount of time for me as I can easily fit that into an evening when I get home from work, I also liked that you could combine the three workouts to create an hour long one perhaps for the weekend. The first part is quite a calming warm-up section which focusses on the mind and introducing simple yoga poses, this is quite a nice one to do at the end of the day if you’re feeling stressed and want some easy exercise to calm down and unwind. The second part is a little more intense, with some harder poses. I like to do this section when I’m feeling a little more energetic and wanting a good stretch, it’s less meditative so good for when you’re in the mood for real exercise rather than chilling out. The third section combines the first two, with some difficult stretches and poses but also lots of reflection and meditating.
For me, yoga is the perfect exercise to slot into your routine, particularly if you want something casual which can fit in whenever and wherever. I know there are definitely downsides to using a DVD, particularly that you can’t be corrected in your poses, and I would like to also go to a class at some point. But the reality was that I had no time to commit to a class, so it was more a choice between doing yoga or not doing it at all, then between a DVD or a class. It’s also a super cheap way to exercise, the DVD is only £10.99 and then you just need a yoga mat which you can pick up very cheaply. It’s a great exercise to do to develop your core muscles, help your flexibility and also unwind at the end of the day, I would recommend it to all.