Increasing strength, improving overall fitness capacity and performance are always constant personal objectives of mine. The only solution to developing more strength, for me, has always been to lift heavier and work harder.
This past winter, I decided to incorporate yoga into my fitness regime in hopes of improving mental focus primarily, but to also show support for the BodyRite Yoga Program. After three months of regular yoga practice, I began to see an improvement in the ability to align my focus, but also increased strength and stability in my body. This was such a surprise to me because I am strong and have always been strong but never for a minute did I think yoga could make me stronger and it truly has!
As a newbie to yoga, my workouts have evolved and I now integrate movements from the classes I take. Sometimes, when I need to get away from the gym but want to workout, I actually practice yoga instead of classically “working out.” With that being said, I would like to introduce to you the woman that has had all of this positive yoga effect on me! Her name is Sam Achilich and she is the Yoga Instructor for BodyRite Training. We are so fortunate to have her on staff and I have invited her to share a little bit more about the beauty and benefits of integrating a yoga practice into your life.
Sam Achilich says...
In the midst of raising a family and managing a full time professional career, I realized the need to come back to the world of fitness for my own health and well-being. I began working out with a personal trainer and practicing yoga at about the same time. I found the combination of the two to be perfect for building strength, flexibility and mental focus. My strength training improved my yoga practice and my yoga practice improved my strength training in ways I couldn’t begin to realize at first. That was over a decade ago and the transformation it has made in my life is nothing short of dramatic.
Yoga in the 21st century has evolved substantially from its beginnings over 3,500 years ago. What was originally a spiritual practice to prepare the body and mind for meditation, has become a global movement that crosses boundaries of race, religion and nationality. In fact, many would say that yoga is an international language unto itself. Dropping into a class in another town, another state or another country brings a feeling of being at home to many who practice yoga.
A well balanced yoga practice contains three elements: breath work known as pranayama, physical poses known as asanas, and meditation. The benefits of combining these three elements can be life changing. Yoga poses build strength through isometrics by holding the body in a static position while also developing flexibility, stamina and endurance. My own personal discovery of the power of attaching breath to movement has given me useful tools to reduce stress, elevate mood and improve focus and concentration. Many yoga practitioners also find spiritual growth and enlightenment to be the result of a regular yoga practice. This was certainly the case for me.
Recent research in the field of psychology has show that yoga can also help in recovering from depression, anxiety, addiction and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The great sage, Patanjali, best known as the author of the Yoga Sutras – the text considered by many to be the foundation of classical yoga – defines yoga as “the removing of the fluctuations of the mind.” Yoga is the stilling of the mind until it rests in a state of total and utter tranquility. This state is reached through movement, breath and meditation. My own yoga journey was so powerful that I knew I would be happiest sharing my discoveries with others through teaching. It has been one of the best decisions of my life…what I give to others through teaching I receive tenfold in return.
One of the great yoga teachers of the 20th century, B.K.S Iyengar, put it most succinctly when he said, “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” This is yoga and I hope to bring the essence of all of these things to all who join us on the mats at BodyRite!