This past Saturday being Earth Day got me thinking about the time when I had been working on cruise ships and spent a summer in Alaska. Looking back I remember how that experience dramatically changed my outlook on the world and my fitness life. Alaska is a magical place and something about it's untouched beauty inspires people the moment they step foot on it's land. As my musician friends would go off somewhere quiet to write lyrics and others would be snapping pictures of breathtaking landscapes, I would tighten up the laces on my hiking boots and explore a different trail every week. The shift in listening & moving to music, as my dancer/fitness self only knew, to moving up a mountainside solely with the sound of the huffing & puffing of my breath changed me.
I hadn't made the connection until now but that very same summer is when I started to play with yoga. I say "play" because I thought there was no chance in hell I was going to get into this thing they call a practice. It wasn't even my idea. I had just left another ship where a friend showed me a book on yoga sequences & postures saying I needed to try it. I thought she was nuts because at the time we were partying our butts off in the Caribbean and all of the classes I had ever taught were high intensity, jump around like a crazy person until you are drenched in sweat, style. But something in the Alaskan air made me curious about yoga and moving to my breath. And so another chapter in my fitness life began.
Now don't get me wrong, I still love to dance around like a maniac....
"She's a maniac, maniac on the floor
And she's dancing like she's never danced before."
Oops, sorry, my urges to break out into song is impossible to subdue.
But there is something about turning that music down and simply listening to your own breathing and moving to that rhythm instead. Since then I have come to love yoga's ability to help me fine-tune my movement skills and I even, dare I say it, enjoy being still. Especially after having kids. They can drive me batty sometimes and having even just a short moment of quietness & a connection to my body is glorious.
The amazing part is it spreads like wild fire into your daily life the more you do it. Even your other types of workouts get better, strong and more fulfilling. You attack your cardio differently. Your posture changes when your lifting weights. You have more energy, more endurance, more strength. And the big one, better mobility. Better flexibility.
I promise I haven't drank any cool-aid. I just get so pumped up talking about this because it will transform how you look at your fitness regiment and your body. I know because I have experienced it and I am deeply grateful for it.
Yoga, meaning union, is all about connecting the mind & body. It helps establish a positive self-awareness and can heightened your appreciation for everything around you.
So...when I discovered yoga in Alaska it was a magical time.
But you don't need to be in a mystical place to enjoy who you are and your surroundings. Tapping into the amazement of the human body is within you every day. And getting to know every little nook & cranny within your body will elevate your awareness too.
Here's a fun trio to get you going:
P.S. The new JBird video release is Balanced Body: Yoga. Click Here for access to this 17 minute FUN yoga practice & more.