What is it about Yoga that is so darn intimidating? Is it the young girls in the lululemon leggins, the all too perfect bottoms and perky attitudes? Since when did yoga become a "trend" of the hip, young and elite? Since when is the newest career choice of urban hipster "stay at home moms" to be a yoga instructor?
It's not just about sharing juice recipes and stretching in patterned spandex, although we all wish that was the case! Pilates is about a lot more. The benefits of Pilates and yoga go way beyond the studio, popping up to guide you through that 8am meeting right up until that 3pm deadline. Pilates and yoga teach you the following benefits to improve your work life:
1. How to focus: Just 10 weeks of Pilates practice has been linked to improved brain function, can improve your focus and help you process information faster. Posture practices are effective for concentrating and drowning out other distractions.
2. How to sit smarter: Text neck is a real thing! Pilates improves your posture and the strength of your core and back, which makes sitting more comfortable. Solid posture is also linked with more efficient breathing, fewer headaches, and less stress, which - in my opinion - is one of the best benefits of Pilates and yoga there is. You can strengthen your lower back at home through superman holds, use dolphin planks to build up your core and get a really good back and shoulder stretch with upward facing dog.
3. How to chill out: As far as stress boosters go, yoga and Pilates have proven to be the brain's natural anti-anxiety drug of choice. Yoga has been linked to a boost in mood and reduced anxiety, thanks in part to an increase in Gaba receptors (neurotransmitters linked to stress relief) in the brain. Meanwhile research shows the mindfulness techniques used in Pilates have been linked to lower stress and improve sleeping habits.
4. How to breathe through a situation: Breathing is, thankfully, one of those automatic functions done without thinking. But there are times when focusing on your breath (and not holding it) can serve you well. In both Pilates and yoga, both breath awareness and intentional practices (like a long exhale) make practicing controlled breathing in real life a no brainer.
5. How to focus in the moment and forget about your day: When I focus in the moment during my class, my to-do list melts away. Students are in that room - both physically and mentally and when the workout is over, students are refreshed, relaxed, reinvigorated and most of all DE-STRESSED!
Our normal routines get completely thrown out the window when traveling and staying true to your fitness routine on the road may be the last thing on your mind as you negotiate the airport or highways this holiday season. Exercise, however, could be your best defense against holiday stress, illness and the dreaded holiday weight gain.
The best exercises are often ones you can do with your own body, you can leave your dumbbells and weight resistance bands at home. Here are 8 tips to stay fit while traveling:
1. Exercise needs to become your constant while traveling. Make a commitment to yourself that you will find 20 minutes every other day to exercise - NO EXCUSES!
2. Work out where you can. You might have a decent hotel room, you might need to do lunges in your mother's hallway, or maybe you can find a park or school playground somewhere. Turn any environment into your personal gym.
3. On travel day pack some healthy snacks with you in your bag. Apples and almonds are my go-to.
4. If you're going out to eat, find the restaurant online and decide what you're having before you get to the restaurant. Stick to high protein and veggie options. Doesn't hurt to ask for double veggies on the side.
5. Ask around the neighborhood for a nearby boutique gym or studio that takes walk ins and join in on a class or two.
6. Go on walks. Walking is a great form of aerobic exercise almost anyone can do anywhere. If you're driving take the rest stops at parks or near a trailhead, and take a brief walk before hitting the road again.
7. Wear comfy sneakers to the airport and get your steps in. Walk instead of taking the shuttle or moving sidewalks.
8. Yoga is a great way to stretch after a long and cramped flight. Some airports offer yoga or meditation rooms to help you create your moment of zen.
If you follow these few tips and understand the importance of keeping up your regular routine even while traveling, you'll be able to come back without skipping a beat. We are creatures of habit at the end of the day. Add a workout to your calendar, set up an appointment reminder, do whatever it takes, but don't take no for an answer.
Are you soon to be expecting and wondering what activities and/or workouts you'll be able to do?
Pilates AND/or Yoga is your answer.
Here are a few testimonials for you just in case you're still skeptical :)
You need a way to calm your kid(s), eh? S/he is active and you just can’t seem to calm them down. Maybe, just maybe your kid struggles with anxiety, depression, add/adhd. And that’s okay. That DOES NOT make your child/children bad. They just need someone who will be patient with them and slow them down a bit. Let them know that it’s okay to come from 100% down to maybe…90%? Kidding. :)