While I cycled home from a really nice outdoor yoga class, given by #FITGIRLCODE yogi Liberty, I started to think about what I learned and experienced from doing yoga in the past few years. I started yoga 3 years ago and it actually all started as an experiment…
Almost 4 years ago I made a really nasty fall on the ice, which caused a heavy brain concussion. It took me about 3 months to recover and pick up my study again, but I was still experiencing structural headaches and weekly migraine attacks which made it nearly impossible for me to get back into my sport and social life. After months of physiotherapy and manual therapy, it became slightly better, but my headaches were still really bad. More than half a year after my crash I decided to give yoga a try…
This seriously was one of the golden clues for getting rid of my structural headaches! I decided to try power yoga at my gym for 2-3 times a week for at least one month. After this month I experienced a significant difference; my structural headaches were basically gone and also the frequency of my migraine attacks was way lower than it used to be! But this is not everything.
Yoga also taught me how to relax. By using your breath while going through the yoga sequences, somehow you really get to that point of letting go. If you want to experience this and you’re not used to do yoga, you should really take some time to develop this skill. For me it took a couple of months, but nowadays when I’m only doing a few minutes of sun salutations on a stressful day, this is already enough for me to feel completely relaxed again!
Also, yoga really helps you to get a stronger core and prevent injuries. A perfect example is the headache anecdote I gave you. Actually after my crash my neck and back muscles weren't strong enough anymore to keep all my spinal joints together. By doing yoga I trained all this tiny little core muscles to do what they are made for: supporting your joints!
Even when you are a real cross fit addict or weight lifting-girl, this could be beneficial for you. When you’re doing high impact strength training (especially in weight lifting), you are mainly training your big muscle groups, but your smaller, deeper muscles are the ones that keep your joints together.
When you have a strong and stable core, it’s helps you lift heavier weights!
Another reason why I’m doing yoga daily is active recovery and improving flexibility. I’m a big fan of active recovery. Active recovery means that you help your muscles recover from a heavy training by getting active on a low-intensity level. Most important is that the blood flow to your muscles gets better. Blood is the transporter of nutrients and when your nutrients get into your muscle cells faster, of course your recovery process goes faster as well! Power walking and cycling are great active recovery strategies, but so is yoga (if you don’t make it too intense)!
For me as a figure skater, it’s very important to improve strength and to stay flexible at the same time. Yoga stretches really help my back when it comes to this. If you want to improve your flexibility, just try to do do 5 - 15 minutes of warrior and triangle variation poses right after waking up and before going to sleep. This way you’ll have a win-win situation. You'll start and end your day with a clear mind AND you’re improving your flexibility!
I hope this blog inspires you to try yoga. It’s so beneficial for both your body and mind! If you haven’t done yoga before, just give it a try and see what yoga can do for you!