Alexandra Legouix, YOGI AND TV PRESENTER, AMONG OTHER THINGS, EXPLAINS WHY THE DISCIPLINE COULD CHANGE YOUR WORLD
Until 2014, I had done only a handful of yoga classes in my life. Iwas a professional dancer, personal trainer and fitness instructor. I saw yoga as being slow and boring. I had no idea of the extent of the physical benefits and certainly no idea of the mental benefits. However, that summer I had a fairly innocuous fall whilst dancing, which resulted in a broken spine, dislocation of my pelvis and three prolapsed discs. Utterly shocked at the severity of my injuries, the doctors shipped me off for extensive scanning andit became apparent that I had a severely degenerative disc disorder and facet joint disease.
Once I got going again I was desperate to get back to thegym but I was under strict orders – absolutely no weight training, no boxing, no impact movement allowed. Yoga and pilates only.
Urgh, how dull.
And yet… that is the moment my life changed for the better.
Weare a fast-paced, stressed generation. Yoga is scientifically proven to reduce stress and ease anxiety and depression… and all the while you’re sucking on that yoga chill pill, you are building strength, toning, increasing flexibility and easing off the pains and niggles your body has been throwing at you. It’s actually a no brainer and yet so many of you are missing out!
For me, Hot Yoga is my ‘go to’.
My body craves the heat. My back loves it. I also love that it is a form of cardiovascular exercise without having to run on a treadmill for hours. However, hot yoga might not be for you and that’s fine. There are now so many types of yoga that no matter what kind of person you are, you’ll find a yoga to fit.
If you want a relaxing flow, try Vinyasa or Hatha. If you want a more structured routine, try Iyengar. If you want a strong, dynamic workout, try Power Yoga. If you want to be playful and try your hand at some circus tricks try Acro Yoga. If you’ve always wanted to pretend you’re inCirque Du Soleil, try Aerial Yoga or an Inversion class. If you’re like me and you love music and dance then hopefully you’ll like a new yoga style I’ve been creating called Aldanyo Flow, which I will launch in 2019. The options are endless. So if you try a class and find it’s not for you, don’t give up. Just try a different style.
I am now four years on from my accident. Determined to help my body heal, I practised yoga at least three times a week. My yoga mat was my saviour. The muscles around my spine got stronger and looser and the pain eased with it. I am now able to weight train, box and dance again and I hold yoga responsible not only for such a radical improvement in my physical health and strength but also for, mentally, helping me feel positive about my fitness journey again.
We are all fairly bad at keeping New Year’s resolutions but let me encourage you to add yoga to your list and just see how you get on.
Most people who practice yoga have their own unique reason for starting it. Most people had wildly different opinions of it before they started. Everyone I know who does yoga now has been overwhelmed by the positives it has had on their life. And everyone I know who does yoga already would agree that they’d never remove it from their life now. Once you’ve discovered what is ‘your kind of yoga’ you won’t want to remove it.
Part of the Fit for Life series. Keep an eye out for my second DVD being released on 24 December.
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