You might have noticed a few of my posts on facebook mention yoga. I love it. It is pretty new to me, but there are multiple reasons it has made a regular feature into my exercise program.
I exercise everyday whether it is a play in the park, a walk with the dog or kids or a dance/aerobics DVD. Although the one thing that always calms me while building some lean muscle and stretching me out, is my yoga. It is actually my favourite part of my exercise program at the moment.
So why is it actually good for me or you or your kids!
Works the core
By improving your centric balance, you are relying on your core muscles. These are key to posture and strength around your mid section. Especially after pregnancy it is important to have a strong core area for not only assisting you in the daily run around and pick up of your babe, but also to bring your belly back in. Have a read here about your middle section and other tips to get rid of it.
My favourite poses for the core are these. PS Excuse the photos, they are a little daggy!
and the standard plank but there was no picture for this one in my book.
Strength of your legs and buttocks
In many of the poses you are relying on the strength of your thighs, quadriceps and buttocks to keep you strong in position. As these are such large muscle groups, it is great to work them and increase their lean mass. The greater your lean body mass, the higher your metabolism.
Stretches and strengthens your back and neck.
All mums know how sore their back and necks get, especially with young babies. Myself, I have this permanent tension around my bra line from picking and bending and breastfeeding my 6 month old. There are multiple poses within yoga that stretch out my key area of strain, but overall the back and neck are worked without too much stress on the area at the same time.
All these images are from my own personal book “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar.
It is said that other beneficial effects of yoga include:
- Cardiovascular efficiency increases
- Respiratory efficiency increases
- Gastrointestinal function normalizes
- Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
- Posture improves
- Strength and resiliency increase
- Endurance increases
- Energy level increases
- Weight normalizes
- Sleep improves
Even if I get one of these I think it is worth it. I use it as exercise, stretching and meditation.
So why don’t you try some yoga for a change in your exercise regime. It might be best to take a few classes or watch a few DVDs before you start. Or for some other exercise inspiration which also focuses on some of the areas discussed above, have a look here and here.