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Yoga & Exercise: Are they the same or different?

Nadia Wong Yoga

People say they do yoga for exercise. I do both Yoga AND exercise. I don’t class them as the same thing. It’s all about a balanced lifestyle. From being an avid Yogi and Gym Junkie I can safely say the results from both Yoga and training in the Gym are completely different but regardless both so so beneficial.

Since last September when I began Yoga Teacher Training I have been going through a battle between training and Yoga. I’ve been on the fence, dumbbells on one side and my yoga mat on the other.  Since then I have been going through a constant battle with myself. I need to make sure I do a bit of self practice Yoga every day so that I can be a good example to my future students and be a professional Yoga Teacher by the end of the YTT course. However, having the mind and…

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Yoga & Exercise: Are they the same or different?

People say they do yoga for exercise. I do both Yoga AND exercise. I don’t class them as the same thing. It’s all about a balanced lifestyle. From being an avid Yogi and Gym Junkie I can safely say the results from both Yoga and training in the Gym are completely different but regardless both so so beneficial.

Since last September when I began Yoga Teacher Training I have been going through a battle between training and Yoga. I’ve been on the fence, dumbbells on one side and my yoga mat on the other.  Since then I have been going through a constant battle with myself. I need to make sure I do a bit of self practice Yoga every day so that I can be a good example to my future students and be a professional Yoga Teacher by the end of the YTT course. However, having the mind and body that I do, I can tell you now that just doing Yoga is NOT ENOUGH for me.

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Self Practice Progress

Many people have suggested that I give up training for now and focus solely on Yoga. Easier said than done.

“I don’t understand why you are training?? What are you training for? It’s pointless!”

Sorry but the question is why are you NOT training?

From someone who has suffered through the struggle of dealing with mental health, throughout the tough times I had such an unhealthy lifestyle and due to these habits I fell into a downward spiral. I had always been quite petite and thin but after going through a difficult time in my life I was going out partying every weekend and filling my body with all the junk food I could eat with damn all exercise in between. My body began swelling up, I was unhappy and I felt ugly and unhealthy. Throughout this time I took to Yoga. I began practice both at home and in the studio, focusing on meditation and positive thoughts, positive actions (it actually works). Although this helped me come to the realisation and awareness of the rut I was stuck in. It wasn’t enough.

YOGA WAS NOT ENOUGH. Yes for the people who know me, they will be shocked because they know how much I absolutely adore Yoga, it’s my way of life. However for someone like myself it is just not enough.

Why? It doesn’t have the same effect on my body as training does. When I say training I mean working out my full body in the gym- mainly strength and conditioning.

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My first time competing in a Crossfit event

The time I began training is when I was finally released from the hold that depression was trying to have on me. There are that many health benefits of exercise out there that I don’t even need to list for you, there are that many of them and well known at that. From training, getting a sweat on, I felt happier in my body and especially my mental health. By the way you don’t need the gym to achieve this. Even just going for a run or doing a home workout does wonders for mind and body.

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To be honest doing both on a weekly basis is just amazing and both have such different effects. Yoga makes me feel at ease and calm and has a great effect on my body to lengthen my muscles which further benefits  my training. It helps me give my body a rest while still working it in a different way. It also helps me to be a better person by living through Yoga Philosophy.

Training makes me feel alive, fit and healthy. I get agitated and grumpy when I don’t train for a while and doing ALL the Yoga in the world doesn’t get rid of that restlessness for me. We are humans and we were built to survive. This is why I need to train and push my body to work hard to make it stronger and healthier. It’s so so important to exercise because the benefits of both your physical and mental health from it are absolutely amazing.

So yeah I tried to stop training and focus only on Yoga practice. But not a hope. I began to dislike self practice because I didn’t feel physically satisfied with just that. So by making a good balance between the two I appreciate and enjoy both much more. So everything in moderation. Balance is the key 🙂

Do you find the same struggle?

Thank you for reading guys 🙂

Nadia

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Why IS Savasana The Hardest Pose?

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‘What is Savasana?’ Savasana translated from Sanskrit means Corpse pose. It is the stage that all of your practice has led up to. In Savasana you lie on your mat and feel the effect that your practice has had on your body. For many people this is one of the most challenging poses in Yoga Practice.

When we think Savasana we think “ooh my favorite, I don’t have to work anymore I get to lie down and relax!” However, this is not the case with most of us. It isn’t easy being left alone with the treasure chest of thoughts that we usually choose to ignore, which our minds hold for us ready to push forward for acknowledgement.

When are we ever really left alone with our thoughts? There is always something on, tv in the background, music playing, phone in hand. Very rarely do we have time to be silent.

Savasana is the rare occasion when we lie there to be alone with pure focus on ourselves. No distractions. One of the most difficult things for most people to do and I can put my hand up and say I am one of them.

From my own experience, I can’t count how many times I have had to hold back tears in the middle of a full Yoga class during Savasana. The whole experience can be so overwhelming. You could have had a great day yet you find yourself after a long vigorous practice lying down to relax, welling up with tears and not even knowing why?

This is the beauty and the power of the pose.

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Through self practice I have learned that acceptance is the key to enjoying Savasana. The first couple of times I became overwhelmed with emotions after coming into Savasana during my home practice, I would get up straight away, roll up my mat and get on with my day.

After learning from one of my teachers during Yoga Teacher Training I decided to test myself by just lying there and letting it happen.

Now, I just lie there and embrace the emotions that come over me. Just let it happen. Accept whatever thoughts come into your head and then move on, hone in on your awareness of the body. Focusing on the air coming in and out of your lungs and feeling your ribcage expand through each inhale and relax through each exhale. The relaxation will take over and hopefully you will experience the feeling of gratitude and contentment that I feel when I hit relaxation after working the body hard.

In Savasana whenever you feel emotional or fidgety and restless, just feel the heat and the tingling energy flowing around your body and releasing after practice. Focus on your breath and allow yourself that space to relax. The more we accept and embrace the experience, the more we can enjoy those quiet moments.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Positive Thoughts & Being Your Own Priority

Getting your priorities right is something everyone struggles with on a daily basis. Being stuck in tunnel vision mode is the number one culprit.

Nothing seems to be going right, it feels like the whole world is swallowing you up into a black hole and you’re making babies cry with your sour face, you have no place to go but deeper into the dark.

Take a step back and open your eyes, analyze the situation from a clearer perspective. Something many of us struggle to do. You will be surprised, there are people in worse situations than you.

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At the end of the day your number one priority should be you. And no that’s not called being selfish. How can you give your all to others when you have been so hard on yourself that you have nothing left to give?

Yes I’m preaching here like I’m the expert but I struggle with this myself all of the time. I give and give to other people until I have nothing left and then when I have nothing left I am really hard on myself because I feel I haven’t done enough. A downward spiral of negativity.

The healthier in mind and body you are the better you feel over all and the more you can enjoy life. How do I know this? Because I get on my mat at the end of each day, lie down, close my eyes in Savasana and reflect on everything that happened throughout the day. My thoughts and my actions toward myself and others.

Some days upon reflection I feel unhappy about the way I handled situations or reacted to certain people and I always find the root of the problem back in myself. Lack of sleep-> Tired , Lack of exercise->agitated , lack of time for ME causes negative behavior toward the world. And in the bitter sweet wheel of Karma, comes back around to impact me in a negative way. So with the knowledge of cause and effect isn’t it better to flip that the other way around and breed positivity?

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I ate my body weight in chocolate yesterday, no good fuel was fed into the engine. I usually have cold showers every day because they make me feel alive but this week I have fallen out of my usual health conscious, motivated routine. I’m feeling tired, groggy and grumpy. And that’s okay. I’m not gonna beat myself up over it. I’m human. I can start fresh tomorrow.

So stop and think about your own situations are you giving YOU enough time? Are you looking after your body? Be selfish and care about yourself for once. Feed both mind & body with the nutrients they deserve. The results of this will create a ripple effect in your life and I guarantee you will feel 10 times better.

Positive thoughts breed positive outcomes.

Nadia

 

 

I Want To Do Yoga. But Where Do I Begin?

IMG_1086Since beginning Yoga Teacher Training so many people have told me that they really want to start doing Yoga but don’t know where to begin. I’ve had conversations with numerous people who have never tried Yoga before, asking me to do a 121 class with them to teach them the basics. 

What stands out most to me during these discussions is fear. Fear of the unknown.

“I’m afraid that I will be the worst in the class” or “I’m not flexible enough”, “I don’t know anything about it, I won’t understand what’s going on in the class”, “I can’t even touch my toes” 

Guess what! None of the reasons above matter. I know, the thoughts of going into a class full of strangers to breathe in sync with, in the downward facing dog position seems a bit eccentric. But that’s what makes the experience all the more fun and exciting! You’re trying something new and out of your comfort zone. It will be worth swallowing your nerves for, I promise.

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Okay so where do we begin? 

Well let’s start with WHY. Why do you want to begin doing Yoga? What are your reasons? Whether you want to practice for relaxation, strength, flexibility or even just because the poses look cool on IG and you’re a bit curious, there are so many options and paths you can take down the yogic route. 

If you have NO CLUE what yoga is about at all and you want to have a nosey online before going to a class, there is so much content across all online platforms where you can do your research. My personal favourites: 

  • Yoga Journal – Good reading on all things Yoga
  • Kino MacGregor videos on YouTube – Great for beginner tutorials & Yoga sequences

Although a lot of Yogis are self taught from the likes of online videos & forums, I wouldn’t depend solely on this method of learning. The reason being, the atmosphere and energy you experience from practicing Yoga with a group of people in a class is an experience unlike any other. Not only this, you are in a safer environment with a professional teacher who can make the necessary adjustments to accommodate your body. This will allow you to avoid injury and learn how to get in and out of the poses properly & safely.

I hope you found this helpful! If you have any questions or would like to share some of your Yoga experiences I would love to hear from you.

Happy practicing!

Nadia

What is Yoga? A non-expert opinion 

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I have decided to dedicate my first post to what Yoga means to me. Some people think Yoga is “just a bit of stretching”. Yes it’s good for that too but there is so much more to it.

A couple of years back I went through a REALLY difficult time. The only place I found my mind at peace was when I was on my mat in a Yoga class, surrounded by the vibrations of OM. This experience alone is worth going to a Yoga class for whether you’re planning on becoming a full time Yogi or just going for fun. It is so powerful and fills your body with the most calming energy while covering your skin in a blanket of goosebumps. 

Anyway, I found myself on my mat nearly every day throughout this period because it was the only place I felt happy and relaxed. I could calm my mind through concentration and awareness of my body and breathing. It is crazy how unaware of our bodies we are until it is brought to our attention. I bet you’re slumped over your phone right now reading this with your best resting b**** face on (see mine below). Take a deep breath and relax. 

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I suppose the point I’m trying to get across here is that Yoga is such a powerful tool for every day life, it is revitalising for the mind & body. I cannot describe in words how much it helped me cope over the past few years and how much it still helps me get through the daily grind. So no, Yoga is not just a bit of stretching. It is an every day coping mechanism that has helped me take control of my mind. 

In my non-expert opinion, you should get yourself on a mat and try it some time. 

Much love,

Nadia