The more I completely kick people’s butts, the more they come back to class. I’ve learned this over the past decade at Mind the Mat. But did you know that yoga can kick your butt, too? When we first opened in 2008, the most frequently heard misnomer was “Pilates is hard and yoga is just stretching right?” Actually, yoga can be much more physically challenging than ever imagined. Since that seems to be what everyone wants, a complete physical challenge, I will describe why everyone should be doing yoga now…whether it kicks your butt or not!
As we age, our connective tissue — ligaments, tendons, fascia, etc. — and muscles change. Yoga stretches and strengthens us in all the right places to ensure we don’t experience something called adaptive shortening. Adaptive shortening occurs when our bodies are placed in one position for long periods of time, like sitting too long or holding bad posture. The muscles and connective tissue will actually respond by tightening on one side of the body and lengthening/weakening on the other. For example, if we sit all the time, our hip flexors and hamstrings will get tight and our glutes and back muscles will weaken, and you know I love the glutes! Postures in yoga counter this phenomenon and thus help you achieve a more balanced and, thus, better functioning body,
For the longest time I thought yoga was too foo-foo for me. I felt uncomfortable with the thought of belting out an om or even attempting to meditate. But science has spoken and we now understand what all the yogis have known since ancient times. Harvard studies have found that regularly practicing yoga improves mood, concentration, memory, empathy, and reduces stress and anxiety. Um, yes please!
Do you like to run, cycle, row? Great! We need to keep moving! But in those specific exercises our bodies are only working within one specific plane, and we are 3D beings. The twists, side bends, and rotations preserve and improve the normal movements within our joints. By moving as the multi-planar beings that we are, the innate function and range of motion our joints are meant to produce are further established and strengthened. What does that mean? We are better equipped to move through life without aches and pains. We are also less susceptible to injury as we age, and whether you are young or old, we can all get injured.
If you are intimidated to start, we get it. But we have a class for that! In fact, whatever you are thinking now — “I am not flexible enough.” “People will look at me.” “I won’t understand the terminology.” — we have heard it, and we have a class for you. If you look at our schedule you will see so many styles and formats, there is something for every body type, every age, and every fitness level. Here are some suggestions for where to start:
Do you have questions for me? I would love to hear from you. Email me directly at email@example.com.
Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.