ChefFit: Yoga

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Eating a balanced, portion controlled diet is one way you can choose to live a healthy lifestyle. Pairing that with a type of exercise you genuinely enjoy is an even better way to come over to the healthy side!

We all know that exercise is great for our health, but still, we drag our heels and our bums stay glued to the couch a little (or a lot) too much. So how do you kick the sedentary habit?

They key is to find an exercise that you genuinely enjoy. This way you’re more likely to stick with it and make it a sustainable lifestyle change. Think about it: a week you spend pumping iron in the gym is nothing compared to a lifetime habit of walking the dog for 45 minutes each day.

Finding that special exercise might not be easy. You might have to give lots of different activities a go. And you might hate all of them, at least at first. Like lots of things, you have to give exercise a chance to grow on you. You may loathe tying up your laces and taking yourself off for a run the first few weeks. But give it a bit of time – time for your body to adjust and your fitness to improve – and you just might find you’ve been a closet jogger your whole life!

So in the spirit of finding a type of exercise you actually like, we’re going to showcase some of our favourites over the next few weeks and months.

Today, we’re going to begin with a low impact, great-for-the-soul option: yoga.

While you may initially be drawn to yoga to get the toned and slim body many practitioners have, what you’ll find is a deeply fulfilling practice that will change you from the inside out – stilling the mind and soothing the body.

Now, before you tell me how you’re not flexible enough for yoga, let me stop you right there. You go to yoga to get flexible. And strong. And balanced. And centred. And so many other things.

There’s a type of yoga to suit everyone. Some common classes you may have heard of:

  • Vinyasa yoga: This yoga is all about flowing from one pose to the next. It is often fast paced and will give your whole body (and mind!) a workout.
  • Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga is broken up into a number of different series. Each series is made up of a set of postures to go through in a certain sequence. They build on each other.
  • Iyengar yoga: Iyengar is very alignment focused and uses a lot of different props (like blocks and straps) to get you into the different yoga postures.
  • Yin yoga: This delicious form of yoga has you hold the poses for longer stretches of time (excuse the pun) and really allows opening of the body.
  • Hot yoga: Done in a heated room, this usually dynamic practice is all about “detoxing” the body ie. you’ll be sweating it all out!

Whichever type of yoga you do choose to practice it’s a good idea to start with a beginners level class, even if you’re already a fit or athletic type. A beginners class will allow you the time and give you the instruction to understand the postures (called asanas) and how to practice them safely and properly.

Many studios will offer a free first class to new students and you’ll find yoga classes at gyms and fitness centres on the group exercise timetable. With so many offerings and variations, you really have no excuse not to give yoga a go!

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