Fitness Fave Friday – Yoga

Edit: yes I know it’s not Friday. Sometimes life happens and we forget to publish our drafts on time.

This past year, my shopping addiction caught the Lululemon bug. One evening, as I was laying in my small pile of new purchases, high on shopping euphoria and ignoring my growing buyers’ remorse, I realized that most of my yoga pants had never seen a yoga studio. This semester, I set out to fix that.

Every week, I’ve been taking a rest day slow flow class at aUM Yoga in Ann Arbor (happy hour classes for $7? You bet I’ll be there). Since I began doing yoga regularly, I’ve had the effects carry over into school, dance, and the gym. So my first official Fitness Fave Friday is yoga!

Why it’s awesome:

At the beginning of every class, we breathe and set an intention. This could be anything from “relax my jaw and neck more” to “learn how to be more open.” This helps me with my studying. Every time I sit down to do an assignment or study for an exam, I set an intention or goal for myself, giving myself more direction and focus.

Looking for balance (literally)? Yoga is a great option. I spend a lot of time on my toes (putting the “baller” in ballerina. Just kidding), and yoga has been helping me with my balance and control. When you’re holding poses and moving with control between them, your nervous system is firing like crazy to help you find and maintain balance. Even after class, you’ll find yourself feeling more centered and energized (thanks to increased circulation, decreased cortisol levels, and more!) This helps me in the dance studio, at the gym, and walking on ice in this awful polar vortex.

Yoga is also helping my back feel better. When I’m not throwing around heavy stuff at the gym, I’m hunched over textbooks and carrying heavy backpacks, leaving my back a painful mess. I’ve spent the past few weeks laying on foam rollers and lacrosse balls trying to relax my super-tight-super-painful thoracic spine. Nothing was working… until my one hour yoga class. Moving out and between lengthening poses in a hot room has done wonders for my back, which is why weekly yoga is a huge part of my recovery.

My favorite poses:

Inversions – I’m scared of being upside-down (I was dropped on my head once in a gymnastics class and never went back), so one of my 2015 goals is to spend more time upside-down. These take practice, but are great for balance, circulation, and cool Instagram pictures!

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Dancer (Natarajasana) – Because what kind of dancer doesn’t love this pose.

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Child (Balasana) – And as much as I love dancing and bending… I love laying facedown on the floor more. This is a great spine and hip stretch too!

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Sun salutations in the morning – While I wait for my water to boil to make tea, I do a few sun salutations to begin the day with stretchy hamstrings and a relaxed back:

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(Shorts – Lululemon. Leotard – Gaynor Minden)

Favorite yoga poses/outfits? Your own Fitness Fave Friday? Something you think I should see? Share it on Instagram and tag @daniellenicolepurtell and #BarbellBeautyQueenFitness !

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