The Leery Beginner’s Guide To Yoga

I’ve never been more terrified about farting accidentally than I was before my first yoga class. It didn’t matter that I had been doing yoga in the comfort of my apartment for five (mostly) flatulence free months. The thing that I was most worried about when I walked into the modest yoga studio in my Brooklyn neighborhood was letting one rip.

Turns out I’m not the only one! When I talked with Lindsay Carson, a yoga instructor at my local Equinox, she brought it up before I could even ask. “Every guy tells me they can’t do yoga because they’ll fart in class,” she said, laughing. “Who decided this? You won’t! Even if you do, be a man and just move on. Yoga is about being comfortable in your own body.” Taking instruction to “be comfortable in your own body” may sound a little out there, but it turns out that’s what yoga is all about. And it’s totally worth it.

Source: The Leery Beginner’s Guide To Yoga

To those who’d say “Yoga is totally unnecessary. Just lift heavy, sprint hard, fuck your brains out and you’ll be way more relaxed and fit and than a million years of yoga.“:

I want to be the first to say that I appreciate the fit of your tank top, the slight crook of your backwards cap and how awesome it must be to be able to transport so many things in your cargo shorts.

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This Guide Shows Which Muscles You Work When You’re Stretching

It doesn’t matter  if you’re a chronic sitter, a daily exerciser, or a weekend warrior, you must know that stretching is a critical habit. With sending blood stream in your muscles and offering your joints help with moving through their full scope of movement, stretching enhances your stance and athletic execution while lowering your danger of torment and harm.

However when you do yoga or an adaptability schedule, do you know which muscles you’re really extending? On the other hand whether you’re performing every stretch accurately?

Source: 36 Pictures to See Which Muscle You’re Stretching

The truth about stretching is it’s not always beneficial.

12-Minute Daily Yoga Sessions Could Help Improve Your Bone Health

Knowing that more than 700,000 spinal fractures and more than 300,000 hip fractures occur annually in the United States, Dr. Fishman hoped that similar findings from a much larger study might convince doctors that this low-cost and less dangerous alternative to bone-loss drugs is worth pursuing.

Those medications can produce adverse side effects like gastrointestinal distress and fractures of the femur. Indeed, a recent study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging found that among 126,188 women found to have osteoporosis, all of whom had Medicare Part D drug coverage, only 28 percent started bone drug therapy within a year of diagnosis.

Many of those who avoided drugs were trying to avoid gastrointestinal problems.

On the other hand, yoga’s “side effects,” Dr. Fishman and colleagues wrote recently, “include better posture, improved balance, enhanced coordination, greater range of motion, higher strength, reduced levels of anxiety and better gait.”

Source: 12 Minutes of Yoga for Bone Health

I want to believe, but the study had no control group and the exercise is self reported.

How I Went From Weight Lifting to Bodyweight Exercises and Still Gained Strength

At first, I was skeptical about making progress. I used to believe that bodyweight workouts were wussy—that the only way to build the strong body I wanted was to lift weights in the gym. Still, I forged forward. For science (and my own convenience).

Source: How I Went From Weight Lifting to Bodyweight Exercises and Still Gained Strength

Many promote bodyweight exercises as a safer alternative, but it’s easy to mess your elbow/shoulder/knee doing bodyweight work. Form is still essential!

Fitness Isn’t Just for the Wealthy: How to Stay Healthy on a Budget

Personal trainers, fresh vegetables, and gym memberships all cost money. Not everyone can afford such luxuries. It’s one reason why being poor is too expensive—a crappy diet and sedentary lifestyle costs more down the line. Don’t worry: While fitness comes at a price, it’s not one you have to pay out of your wallet.

Source: Fitness Isn’t Just for the Wealthy: How to Stay Healthy on a Budget

Couple of points:

  • The article mentions bodyweight exercises, but stops short of saying yoga or pilates?
  • Cooking for yourself will take time, but it’s worth it for health/nutrition by minimizing how much packaged food you consume.  Just be sure to wash the fruit & veg, eh? 😉
  • While you’re likely to pay more for better food, lowering body weight means portion control.  You’ll eat less, which will cost less.

Does Yoga Have Any Real Fitness Benefits?

Take one look at someone in Scorpion Pose and you’ll know: yoga can build strength and balance. But how does it stack up to traditional strength training—and what can’t yoga do for your body?

Source: Does Yoga Have Any Real Fitness Benefits?

What about hot yoga specifically?  Heat makes you feel like you’re working harder, but that’s not a benefit by itself. Compare to sitting in a hot room—you’re sweating [and miserable], but it doesn’t count as exercise.

If you do it often enough that you’re getting acclimated to the heat, that will help you exercise harder in the heat, like if you run a race on a hot day. There are some small benefits to exercising in the heat, but it doesn’t turn a non-cardio exercise into a cardio one.

Fix Your Hand Position for Better Push-Ups

The tips also apply to yoga – plank related postures.

According to Mountain Athlete strength and conditioning coach Adam Scott, a perfect push-up can challenge even the fittest athletes when done correctly, but can also be rendered completely useless when done wrong. And a lot of people do them wrong.

These are three most common mistakes Scott and his colleagues see, and their comprehensive guide to correcting them.

Source: You’re Doing Your Push-Ups Wrong

Army form is completely different than what someone would do as a pushup for exercise. The reason a soldier would set their hands wider is because on the Army Physical Fitness Test.   You need to maximize your reps in two minutes, so you’re not looking for effectiveness of the exercise but for the ability to move as little as possible during each rep.  If I can reduce my travel by 4 inches that is 8 inches I save on every rep. Every rep is time. Specially when you’re shoulder blades must break the plane, and your triceps must be parallel to the ground for the rep to count.

I really wish people would research more on the exercises they do, and watch themselves perform using a mirror . I see it all the time with normal push-ups. They scrunch their shoulders, lower themselves three to five inches and count that as one rep… Honestly, if you can’t do one proper normal push-up, you’re too weak. Do push-ups from the knees then. There’s no shame in being weak because everyone starts out like that but there is shame in poor form and not understanding your limits.

Court Rules Bikram Can’t Copyright Practice That Has Existed For Thousands of Years

Sure, DC Comics can copyright the Batmobile. However, Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, infamous for his hot yoga, cannot copyright his popular 26-posture sequence that also contains two breathing exercises, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

Source: Guru denied copyright protection for Bikram yoga sequence of postures

What we identify as the practice of Yoga is actually quite new.

Though Yoga is first mentioned by name in some 2,500-year-old Hindu religious texts called the Upanishads, this is actually a term relating to a method of strapping horses together. It is actually the origin of the word Yoke. For the Upanishads yoga was used as a metaphor for a mental prayer technique and only mentioned one physical posture—which is to just sit in a comfortable way so as to make meditation comfortable.

In the 19th century, an Indian prince came up with something resembling what we now call Yoga. His manual was called the Sritattvanidhi and it listed 122 poses—mostly taken from Indian gymnastics. What really kicked the trend into overdrive was the influence of the Imperial British, as they were undergoing their own health craze at the time—and so this union of the too gave us what we now identify as Yoga.

Fast forward to B.K.S. Iyengar—the father of modern Yoga— when he comes up with the idea of combining these exercise techniques with some of the teachings described in old Hindu texts like the Yoga Sutras.  Good read for anyone who is interested.

Classes can be unique to the instructor, even within styles.  But my experience of taking yoga almost 20 years ago is different than what I’ve seen recently.  Some add in some pilates, some aerobics…  Not my cup of tea, but it is nice to get some variety.

How to Turn Yoga into Badass Exercise with Advanced Poses

Yoga can be more than a relaxing way to spend a rest day. It can be a challenge in itself: you can build serious strength working up to impressive poses like Crow or Dancer.

Source: How to Turn Yoga into Badass Exercise with Advanced Poses

What’s advanced depends on your ability. I can hang out in Crow, have some difficulty getting into Stork …but wrapping my leg around for Eagle? The squat portion isn’t an issue. My Half Moon is getting better – it’s not the pose, just the balance. But my hips are incredibly loose – my leg will fall out of Toe stand, double pigeon is more comfortable for me to sit in than cross legs.

My take is that we all have at least one yoga pose that we can do really well. Might not be the one we want…

Plan Your Rest Days Like You Plan Your Workouts

We get this question all the time here at Nerd Fitness. Since we advise most people to train 3 days per week with full body strength training routines, many Rebels have a few off days each week.

Source: What Should I Do on My Off Days?

Walking is certainly easy and accessible.  I’ve made the mistake of doing yoga a couple of hours before swimming – my shoulders were horrible in ways I’d never experienced.  So trial-and-error 😉

But I did use to do yoga the day before a race, at least 24 hours between yoga and the race.  It was really good to do something, but something different and generally low impact.  Now into triathlon offseason and cyclocross season, I’m approaching things differently.  I have one more rest day, which is good because I’ve been noticing I’m really burnt out… even though I’m doing less.