Now that's a weird headline huh... Yeah well I thought the concept was pretty weird myself when I first heard it. But after pondering some time it is all starting to make total sense.
Yesterday I took an online yoga class with Bryan Kest at Power Yoga. Bryan usually ties in every practice with a wise thought which is cool because it helps me stay in flow and think deeply at the same time. In this particular class he drew similarities between brushing your teeth and exercising your body. The premise is this:
When you brush your teeth you don't purposely leave out a tooth. You work around your entire mouth until it's sparkling clean. It would feel weird to just not brush a tooth; after an hour or two it would get annoying. Leave it a day or more and it might start to discolour, and left any longer you may end up with cavities or a rotten tooth ?.
Now imagine if you applied the same awareness to your entire body. This is possible with yoga and especially with a good teacher. They will provide the correct cues to get the most out of every pose. By spending the time to stretch and strengthen your body each day, you are effectively practicing preventative healthcare - just like brushing.
Of course, there are many types of exercise that target different areas of the body and you might think that you can't cover them all in one session. And yeah, I'd agree that's probably not possible. But what yoga does teach you is to become aware and know what needs work.
One big thing to realise is that your instructor is only there to offer suggestions and provide a flow. If you're in a class and not getting out of it what you need, then just listen to your body and tread your own path. The key is, that with more experience you'll soon learn the right poses for any particular area in the body. Being able to find relief and relaxation through self-and-body-awareness is the ultimate goal.
Yoga has become the easiest daily habit for me to maintain because it just feels good. After a powerful session I'm left feeling energized, refreshed and calm, for I have given my body the attention is was crying out for.
So next time you work out, perhaps leave a little bit of time afterwards to scan over your body. Brush out the kinks wherever they may be, and practice awareness.
Rinse and repeat.
Your body will thank you for it!