It's important for us to incorporate a variety of physical activities and exercises into our normal routines in order to keep our bodies strong, happy, and healthy. Many people, however, think of "exercise," solely as intense cardio or heavy weight lifting session. While those are both great forms of exercise, nobody should be so hyper-focused on the intensity of a workout as a sole criterion that they overlook the validity a slower yet equally beneficial option like yoga incorporated into our routine once in a while.
It is just as important to push our bodies as it is to give them time to rest and heal. Yoga is a way to connect your mind to your body and to explore your body's limits. It is a way to slow things down, allowing for a release of tensions from your body and mind. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga on a regular basis experience less stress, feel happier, and are more in tune with their emotions. Additionally, yoga is an easy way to increase muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Haven't convinced you yet? Yoga can also increase energy levels, help to balance metabolism and improve circulatory and cardiovascular health.
Since I have started practicing yoga, I have seen changes in every aspect of my life. A few years ago I learned to start listening to my body when it told me it needed a break. I like to start every morning with a workout. If I wake up feeling sore and fatigued, instead of painfully pushing through an intense workout like I used to, I simply pull up one of the following videos and allow myself to heal and recharge for the day while still feeling satisfied having done something physical to start my day.
Since implementing that, not only have I noticed a change in the way my body feels, with higher energy levels and more endurance in my workouts the following days, but I also notice myself feeling more at peace throughout my days. I think straighter, and become far less irritable. My anxiety levels go down and I have more patience. I have been practicing yoga for nearly six years now, which has given me plenty of time to find some wonderful videos to use. Here are my top five, suitable for any level yogi to use with modifications to make your session more or less difficult depending on what your body needs.
1.25 Minute Fat Burning Yoga Meltdown Beginner & Intermediate
This is a video that I have used so many times that I think I have memorized every word by now. This video is part three of a three-part yoga for weight loss series. If you are a beginner, use this video but also check out the first two videos which may be helpful for you in learning some basic terminology and poses!!! I prefer the third video greatly over the other two but please feel free to try the others as well.
First of all, it's short (25 minutes) so you can squeeze it in at any time of the day, whether it is a quick morning session or a mental break between class. It is very mild and by far the least difficult of the three videos I will share, however you will still feel a nice burn in your legs and a good full body stretch. I also absolutely love the instructor, she is happy and fun to listen to, even after a hundred times listening! Trust me you will use this video all the time.
2. Full Body Flow - Intermediate Vinyasa Flow Yoga Workout
This video says it is an intermediate level, and you will notice that it is slightly more challenging than the first video I shared if you end up trying them both. That being said, it includes options for modification which allow any level of practices to successfully complete. In this video, you will be doing a series of Vinyasa Flows which is a great way to bring your body into a rhythm. It is also a great way to keep your muscles feeling balanced and to bring a sense of symmetry into your workout. You can expect everything you do on one side to be repeated exactly the same on the second side.
This video will test your strength and flexibility, and allow you to reach full relaxation and focus in a short 35 minute time spans.
3. Fluid Flow Intermediate/Challenging Yoga Class
Leigh Butler is an incredibly talented yoga instructor. Of all the videos I have shared with you in this post, this video will be the most challenging. I still encourage you to try it as there are modifications throughout the video which allow you to take it easier or more difficult variations on the poses.
This is also a longer video, it is a full hour long practice. When going into this workout you should expect to challenge your body. It will be a challenge of strength and flexibility that will leave you feeling energized and free of any tightness throughout the rest of your day. If at any point in the video something is too hard, just take a break and what feels good for your body until you are able to jump back in. Good luck!