Why I Keep Coming Back To Yoga

I’ve been a yoga-goer for ten plus years. My sister turned me on to it in college and I think I giggled through my first class. 

But over the years I’ve stuck to it and come back to it time after time because I feel so much better when I’m going consistently. Since I entered my thirties and had a baby, this sense of balance and well being has never felt more important. So I wanted to share all the reasons how it benefits me and has proven to be the best form of exercise in my world. I’ve also gotten to know the Corepower yoga team here in Santa Barbara (one of the original founders in Colorado moved here) so I had them answer a few of my questions on health and yoga below. 

Better Sleep 

It goes without saying that if you do some kind of exercise during the day it’s going to help your quality of sleep. This is so true for me but especially after a Restorative Yoga (translation, deep stretching) class. I leave it ready to hit the pillow! Maybe it’s because I had spinal surgery but nothing messes with my sleep or mood during the day that feeling stiff. So this is my number one reason to make it to yoga. 

De-Stress

I never felt stress was a real thing until my mid thirties. I get easily wound up and while I haven’t wrapped my head around a daily meditation practice (I’ll take any and all tips, just can’t seem to do it!) being in a yoga class feels like a form of meditation. I leave with a clear head and calm nerves. 

Better Mood 

It’s like taking a happy pill! Everyone has those days that feel like you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Nothing flips me on the right side quite like a few down dogs, H20 and taking an hour for myself. It’s my cure for turning that frown upside down. This usually rolls into feeling more confident too, which we could all use a little extra dose of from time to time. 

Detox

I’ve always struggled with the balance of a happy/fun lifestyle versus a healthy one. I know that extra cocktail or sugar-filled dessert probably won’t make me feel good the next day but I’m a social girl and I love, love me some guilty pleasures and a fun night out. Enter the much needed yoga class. Sometimes a good sweat is exactly what I need to clean the slate and get back on a healthy track after a night out, vacation or the dreaded holidays sugar marathon. 

 

Here’s What The Corepower Yoga Pros Say…


1. How does breathe work help in our overall health?

Taking a few deep breaths can transform your body and state of mind. Science proves it. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that has a calming effect. It can lower your heart rate and breathing rate, decrease your blood pressure, reduce muscle tension and help you feel less stressed overall – all essential for your health and well-being.

The best part is that breathing is something you do naturally every day and requires no additional supplies or equipment. With a few simple guidelines, your own breath can become a source of deep relaxation. Try it on once a day for a week. In the car, at home while making dinner. Its accessible and you’ll feel the immediate effects.Try on a mantra, or repeated word, such as ‘calm’, or ‘relax. Breath in ‘at’ breath out ‘ease.’ Keep it simple and you’ll feel it.

2. Best poses for tight hips?

Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana). Another juicy stretch, Lizard Pose stretches out and releases tight hip flexors. It can be intense, so keep your yoga block handy to place under your hands for l. 

Pigeon Pose is a common hip opener but it tends to place the knee in a vulnerable position. Reclining Pigeon Pose gives you the same hip stretch as Pigeon, but with a lot more safety for your knees.

3. Any tips for avoiding migraines from hot yoga? 

Migraines can be triggered by many factors, such as certain foods, lack of sleep, or dehydration. Stress may also cause migraines. In regard to heated yoga, the most common reason for migraines or headaches is dehydration or magnesium (or other electrolyte) deficiency. To replace the electrolytes, we sweat out you can use coconut water or other high-quality electrolyte replacement. Bananas are a great source of potassium. Himalayan Salt can help replace minerals.

After researching this I found that the most common reason behind post-yoga headaches is actually due to the structure of your neck. It is recommended to have a professional take a look at your neck to make sure you have a curve that goes forward, like an arc. This is the structure that is the most stable and needs the least amount of muscle support or protection.

If the curve is missing (which is very common) the neck becomes tight and you have a stretch on your spinal cord and brainstem. When we do yoga, we are using the muscles differently and they can become easily aggravated and the headache can be either what we call ‘cervicogenic’ which is primarily due to muscle tension OR due to the stretch on the spinal cord itself in different positions. Always consider contacting your health professional for an assessment.

Photography by Sara Prince


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