Photo Credit: Reebok Experience Store Prague
While I nourish my need for sweating, focus, discipline and determination during my cardio, weight training & rigorous Asana practice. I have discovered a way to nurture the more energetic spiritual side of my nature through restorative yoga. Instead of trying to fit the idea of the “correct” alignment in squats, burners, and planks, restorative poses allow you to let go and sink into what feels right in the moment as your muscles enter a restorative phase. Maria G. Araneta, PhD, MPH, of University of California San Diego, designed a study to analyze a steady loss in fat in obese women from low intensity exercise than aerobic exercise, which has been known to increase heart rate, burn calories and fat. Their findings revealed the significance in restorative yoga practice to reduce levels of cortisol which rises during times of stress and is known to increase abdominal fat. Findings also reported that yoga participants lost significantly more subcutaneous fat over the initial 6 months of the study period, and kept losing it during a maintenance period with less direct supervision. As Arenata explained, Poses are held much longer than in other styles of yoga, often as long as 7 minutes, compressing the muscle aligning with the breath, deepening the pose as measured breathing is emphasized. As endurance athletes, we ask much of our bodies. Moderate to intense exercise stimulates our sympathetic (“fight or flight”) nervous system, which literally breaks down muscle. Every workout we do challenges the body, and when the body adapts, it becomes stronger. However, the adaptation or recovery phase is just as important as the workout itself. Without recovery, there would be no gains in power, strength or endurance. One way to enhance your recovery is by practicing restorative yoga. Many athletes view yoga as an alternative means of exercise or physical training, but if practiced in its true spirit, yoga can balance body and mind, which enhances both athletic performance and well-being.
For more on restorative yoga to balance your endurance workout life, join me Thursday, September 21 @6-7:15pm at Oakland’s Loka Yoga for a rejuvenating flow experience.
See you on the mat!