Paging Celebrity Fitness Expert Kristin McGee: Why You Should Try Yoga in 2014
‘Tis the time of year to vow (VOW) to get in shape, eat better, act better – just BE better. My friend Kristin McGee, aka “The Bendi Girl”, tells us why yoga is the secret to tackling all of these at once. Talk about efficiency! She’s also giving away one copy of her new DVD “Yoga Slim” to one lucky reader. Good luck – and Happy New Year to you all!
YOGA: LOSE WEIGHT, STRENGTHEN, AND FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF
Many people start to stress this time of year about holiday weight gain and making weight loss resolutions for the New Year. The reality is most people only gain one pound over the holiday season. There’s really no need to get overly anxious about the holidays nor start punishing yourself first thing come January 1st. I would love to share with you a more compassionate way to view your body so that you naturally find your happy weight and maintain it (more or less) for the rest of your life.
I just released my latest DVD, Yoga Slim, to help people breathe, stretch, twist and sculpt their way slender. I’ve been practicing yoga for the past 20 years and I’ve pretty much always stayed around the same weight. I continued doing yoga when I was pregnant and had a great delivery; and I started practicing again soon after my baby Timothy was born. Yoga really can help you lose weight (if you need to), stay in shape, sculpt sexy muscles, and help you develop a healthy relationship with food and yourself.
Through yoga and breathing, you can teach yourself to be mindful and live in the present moment. When you learn to breathe deeply, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Yoga teaches you to concentrate, connect with yourself, listen to your body and true hunger cues and trust what your body is saying. Your body loves to move and stretch and eat healthy foods, it’s really that simple
Breathing is the first thing you focus on in yoga class, and tapping in to your own breath is such a powerful tool. So often you aren’t aware of your breath. By taking slow deep breaths in and out of the nose, you can calm the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you relax. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to listen to your body’s true hunger cues and not eat out of stress, anger or boredom. Reducing your stress also helps lower your cortisol levels. High levels of cortisol are linked to weight gain and obesity.
Yoga means to unite and when you unite your mind with your body through your breathing, you can concentrate better on the task at hand. How often have you found yourself mindlessly eating chips while watching your favorite TV show or surfing the web? In yoga class you have to focus and that awareness helps you in all other areas of your life, especially when it comes to eating and moving mindfully. In yoga you also make sure to balance out both sides of your body. I often tell my students to go home and eat with their opposite hand. Immediately they end up eating less and being more mindful of what they eat.
Doing yoga is a workout! When you hold yourself in various poses, you have to engage your muscles and core. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Yoga can definitely help you tone and sculpt your muscles. You’ll hold yourself in various standing postures, arm balances, inversions and engage your core when going in to deep stretches. Some forms of yoga such as vinyasa or power yoga also move quite rapidly through a moving flow which can increase your heart rate and burn as many calories as a fast paced walk or light jog.
Yoga helps you increase your flexibility, which is crucial as you age and also very helpful to keep the body moving. It feels so much better to move freely than to be constricted by tight muscles. Learning to be flexible and go with the flow is also a great tool when it comes to eating well and not getting stressed. You can learn to go out to dinner with friends and still find something healthy to eat and stay engaged in the conversation and moment. Flexibility is key to maintaining a long spine, open posture and deep breathing. Yoga twists keep the spine and back mobile as well as stimulate the internal organs, which can help with digestion and elimination.
Most importantly, yoga connects you with yourself. You will start to learn to truly love your body for everything it does for you. At the end of every yoga practice you acknowledge yourself and your efforts. It’s so important to remind your self every day how incredible you are. No one can breathe for you, you will learn to tap in to your breath energy and potential and do anything you want to in life.
Kristin is offering a copy of her fabulous yoga DVD, “Yoga Slim” to one lucky reader! Just head over here and enter to win before January 8, 2014. You’ll find tons of great poses, like:
- Tree Pose, for concentration, breath and stress relief
- Twisting Lunge, to aid digestion and metabolism
- Downward Facing Dog, to strengthen and tone
- Pigeon, to help with stretch and flexibility