Thanks Yoga!

By: Bobee-Kay Clark

I’m a very goal oriented, analytical person so obviously I like yoga.  Yoga is physical analysis that segments complex motion between the boundaries of inhale, exhale.

Oxygen is our friend.  Yoga regularly reminds me to synchronize my breath with whatever movement I’m doing in Welded.  What part of a movement requires the most oxygen; when is the most logical point to exhale?  Lifting weights is much smoother when breathing is strategic. Mindless workouts are inefficient; better practice makes better performance. Yoga-gained focus enhances my Welded workouts.

Yoga uses breathing as the steady beat with which we pace the melody of our movements.  For me, running feels like dog paddling through pain pudding. When I breathe in for a whole note, each footstep is a quarter note; one breath equals four footsteps.  I focus on the music of running and I can do it.  If I focus on the end…it’s just too damned far away and the pudding is too thick. 

Yoga forces me to be a human beingnot a human doing.  Twice a week I check in with my body during yoga to listen to what hurts, what feels better, and what my body needs more of.  It forces my brain to connect with my body to analyze my workouts. My food choices are deliberative as a result of yoga’s focused thinking time for my body. I could “save time” and eat whatever freaky, over-processed, over-packaged, sugar-disguised-as-a-breakfast-bar is being pushed at Whole Paycheck, but instead I’m reaching for blueberries, protein-filled greek yogurt and sunflower seeds for breakfast. Strong choices are the result of strong thinking.  I’m now down three sizes because of those choices.  Thanks, yoga!

Do you want to be fit for the rest of your life?  I sure do! The first time I hiked in Yosemite, an older woman passed my huffin’ and puffin’ self.   I remember thinking, “when I grow up, I wanna be that woman.” Over the decades, I’ve watched athletic friend after athletic friend fall to hip replacements and knee surgeries.  Everyone assumes their joints are fine, until one day they aren’t; one can only take so much high-impact activity.  The only way I’m going to be “that woman” is if I nurture my joints.

Yoga stretches, strengthens, and forces me to stop and focus on each major joint in a very deliberate and healthy way. It also lengthens and strengthens the ligaments that connect muscles to joints.  It’s easy to think about technique at the beginning of a Welded workout, but the end of the workout where I’m too pooped to ponder is when I need to be front loaded with that deliberate thought.  Regular yoga maximizes that muscle memory. 

I take my yoga seriously so someday my kids won’t have to worry about me falling and not getting up. Let’s face it; yoga feels amazingly “right” for our body and the asanas have really cool names.  Watch someone else whip; I’m doing the Warrior.