Last year I tied a neat little bow on endurance training when I completed my first Boston Marathon and decided I was ready to take a break from long distance running. I never thought my break would continue this far into 2015. This will be the first time in four years that I haven’t run a marathon! I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it’s the way the year has unfolded so far. During this transitional time, it turns out that I discovered something else amazing. I discovered yoga.
I’ve practiced yoga on and off for years but never prioritized it. I used it as a way to stretch and stay healthy during running, Ironman triathlons, and various at home fitness programs which took up most of my time. Today, I find myself going to yoga several times per week, trying a variety of studios, and sometimes taking multiple classes per day! It’s safe to say that this is the year of yoga and it has done a lot for me. The more I learn, the more I want to completely immerse myself in the practice. (Sometimes I daydream of opening my own yoga studio…)
I have taken a variety of traditional and not so traditional yoga classes including hot, vinyasa, asthanga, arm balancing, stretch, aerial, buti, sculpt, and barre. I’ve been inside, outside, upside down, at festivals, solo, and with groups of friends. I get excited knowing that there are endless possibilities with my yoga practice.
Since yoga is very prevalent in my life right now, I have tried to learn more about it. Turns out, yoga has soooo many benefits. More than I even realized! Aside from the more obvious ones of increased strength, flexibility, and a state of calm, here are some of my other favorites.
– Relaxes your system
– Makes you happier :)
– Helps you sleep deeper
– Gives you peace of mind
– Encourages self care
– Gives you inner strength
(Source: Yoga Journal’s article 38 Health Benefits of Yoga)
Still need convincing? Check out this article about how important it is to give yourself a break in life. Something that I have taken with me: “The cheapest, easiest, and most portable yoga tool we have is our breath. Simply by paying attention to one breath at a time, you reduce stress, concentrate better, and become more present.” Breathe deeply, friends!
I’ve being using my Wildfire Life membership to take unlimited classes at various studios in Southern California. UNLIMITED! It’s perfect for someone like me who can get on a roll and take 3 classes/day or who wants to only go to the same studio over and over for a few weeks before changing it up again. (Normally I only take 1 class/day but I like to take advantage on the weekends!) To check it out and get 1 week FREE and $10 off a monthly membership, you can use my personal referral link: :)
I promise you’ll love it, and if you live in SD you can come workout with me! Nicole uses Wildfire too, and we love exploring new classes around San Diego together when we aren’t off running or hiking.
The yoga studios I’ve tried so far in the San Diego area (and counting) are:
– Yoga Tropics: A hot yoga sanctuary just down the street! This is where I took my first ever hot yoga class and fell in love with yoga all over again. I also like to take yoga sculpt, yoga barre, and vinyasa here. I’ve made friends with the teachers and love the community in Encinitas.
– Trilogy Sanctuary: Picture floating above buildings in downtown La Jolla with a sunset and an ocean view. This is what aerial yoga is like here! They also offer traditional classes and have a delicious vegan cafe which I am obsessed with. It is seriously so good. I can spend hours hanging out here.
– Sonima Wellness Center: Perfect for beginners because it isn’t heated and they offer a beginner yoga class on Sunday evenings which I recently took my parents to! They also have a juice and smoothie bar and raw vegan food that I am obsessed with. How is it so good?!
– Mantra Yoga: Heated and non-heated classes plus a juice bar in Carlsbad. (Side note: I think I’m addicted to juice bars.) Nicole and I like to come here for the beginner class together since she’s feeling quite pregnant nowadays!
– Vinyasa Arts: This place is legit. I’ve never seen so many handstands encouraged in 1 vinyasa session! One second I was practicing my tuck handstand jumps, the next the instructor had me holding the pose. Success! Classes can get advanced here but it’s very playful and free-spirited at the same time. Located in Cardiff (next to an acai cafe #justsaying.)
– YogaSix: I was really into the deep stretch class in Carlsbad on Sundays earlier this year.
– Inhale: This is a very unique studio in downtown Del Mar with no mirrors where you practice facing each other. You are forced to truly focus on the inside of your practice. So zen.
– Riffs Yoga: An outdoor studio and guitar shop in downtown La Jolla with a Southeast Asia feel to it. (At least that’s my takeaway after practicing a bit in Bali last year!) This is where I tried yoga to live music and that was pretty special.
– Yoga80: I tried my first arm balancing class here in Carlsbad. It’s cool they offer that as a weekly class because most studios only offer paid workshops.
– Core Power Yoga: This was the first yoga studio I tried in San Diego and it has grown immensely since then. This is where my love for vinyasa began!
I still enjoy running with friends and recently went to a run/yoga/brunch meetup in LA with some of my Oiselle teammates. I started 2015 with a run EVERY SINGLE DAY in January as a new year’s resolution with Nicole! Running will always hold a special place in my heart and over time, I know I will find more balance between yoga and running. They both have incredible things to offer.
There is nothing like completing yoga after a stressful day at work or practicing first thing in the morning to get in the right mindset for the day. After yoga, I feel like I can take on anything the world may throw at me and I think it makes me a more patient, kind person. I’ve been going through a lot this year so that says something.
Yoga is about connection. Yoga teaches you to be present. Yoga opens things inside of you. I truly believe there isn’t anyone out there that can’t benefit from yoga.
Do you practice yoga? What are some of your favorite benefits? Studios?