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#26 March 30

samer
Administrator

Re: Exercising.

Thanks Joe, I've been eyeing yoga for a while now as a good counterbalance to my olympic weightlifting routine.

It's easy to get started: just launch a youtube video and voila. Pick something for beginners and repeat it for a few days. Congrats, you're a yogi.

My concern with this approach, much like with DIY olympic weightlifting, is that you lack an important feedback loop if you don't have someone giving you real-time feedback on your form. Am I right in assuming you could hurt yourself badly doing yoga "the wrong way"?

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#27 March 31

Joe
Member

Re: Exercising.

You're absolutely correct. It goes without saying that you should be very careful when starting yoga. You're about to be exercising your body in new ways, and the risk of injury is very real. And this applies to any form of exercises, you don't want to push yourself too hard, particularly in the beginning (insert rant against Crossfitters doing a "personal best every day")

However, I think the risk of injury is amplified in weight training because you're manipulating masses that your body isn't naturally built to. Bodyweight exercises are slightly different in this regard. The risk of injury, may exist but is not as prevalent as it is for lifters.

Do you need a teacher?

In my opinion, you definitely need a teacher to get good.
Do you need one to get started? I don't know. I didn't need one, but I think some people do. It depends.

Ultimately, yoga poses for beginners are simple (but deadly >.<) check it for yourself. In a post above I linked a series of videos for a 30 day challenge. It's the one I started with. Check them out, pretty sure you'll see that, at least for the first lessons, these are things that you know how to do safely. And then it only gradually builds from here.

Last edited by Joe (March 31)

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#28 April 1

Guitaret
Member

Re: Exercising.

Joe wrote:
Backstory and physical condition

I'm 31 years old, in really good health other than the fact that I'm slightly overweight (90kgs for about 180cm). When I was a kid I used to train for Tae Kwon Do intensely (4 times a week for about 5 years) and even after I stopped I kept doing some form of sport (track field and swimming mostly). From ages 20 to 26, I did very little exercising and completely let myself go. I put on weight, but also I stopped moving and being active. Around age 26 I started running long distance. A year into it, I ran a half-marathon in under 2h. Over the past year or so, I stopped enjoying running. It's a very aggressive sport which is pretty violent on my knees (I have a big belly) and I wasn't enjoying the pain anymore.

TL;DR: My point of view comes from someone with good health and moderate exposure to physical activity.


Physical benefits of yoga

On the surface, yoga, (or at least the brand of yoga that I do), is a variation of common bodyweight exercises:

  • Planks

  • Lunges

  • Balancing exercises

  • Stretching and flexibility

These exercises are really good for your body, even if that's all you ever do. However there is more to yoga itself. It taught me to care about overlooked parts of my body too. Fingers, wrists, ankles, shoulders, spine, back, there are plenty of body parts that are amassing stress all day (I work as a programmer, not the best for your back and wrists), and yoga taught me to stretch and strengthen these parts.

However, as I progress in yoga, I'm realizing that it's so much more than just these surface exercices. At the core, yoga is a breathing exercise. As you focus on your breathing, you will learn to synchronize your breath to your movement. This synchronization is a very powerful tool that yogis discribe as Vinyasa or Flow in English. If you're a programmer, you're probably familiar with being in the Zone, this period of heighten productivity where your whole mind is concentrated on a task at hand, and your body takes care of all the rest for you. Vinyasa is slightly like this.

The physical improvements I see in myself after 18 months or so of yoga:

  • Improved flexibility. I can grab my toes while standing up comfortably. I couldn't touch the floor when I started. Today it actually feels good to grab them, to stretch my back, and I do it all the time.

  • Stronger arms. You'd probably get bigger arms lifting weights, but yoga did buff up my biceps, triceps and shoulders. It's those damn planks all the time

  • Improved balance. I'm still working on this one, but I'm far away from where I started.

  • Better posture. I'm standing straight now. My back, shoulders and neck are much stronger than before.

Overall, I feel stronger and fitter. I didn't notice massive weight loss, but weight is more a matter of food than it is exercise.


Mental benefits of yoga

There's a whole spiritual aspect to yoga, but I'm not super into it. I'm in it to sweat a bit and get out. When yogis start preaching about chakra and karma and namaste I get lost.

This being said there are some mental benefits to the yoga I'm doing.

  • Concentration: I work from home so I take yoga breaks whenever. Yoga taught me (teaches me still?) to block out all things work for 30 mins and jump back in. The ability to clear up your mind and focus on one task at hand is very beneficial. If you're interested in this, why not give meditation a try?

  • Patience: It's a variation on Concentration. Yoga is slow, and we're holding uncomfortable for long periods of times. Plus the benefits take time to appear. It taught me the patience, discipline and commitment I need to improve in my life.

  • Mindfulness: Yoga from home can be dangerous on your body, and if you don't pay attention you can hurt yourself. And a yoga injury sucks and hurts a lot. So I learned to move carefully. To protect my neck, my wrists and other fragile parts of my body. This taught me mindfulness and caution, which I apply outside.

Why yoga?

Most of the benefits I list can be found in any form of exercising. The advantages specific to yoga:

  • It's easy to get started: just launch a youtube video and voila. Pick something for beginners and repeat it for a few days. Congrats, you're a yogi.

  • It's a full body exercise. Literally full body. You'll work your "vanity" muscles like biceps, pecs or abs but also your "overlooked" muscles like your wrists or fingers.

  • Tons of variations! Every day is a new flow, new exercises. I could do push ups and planks every day, but this would be repetitive and boring fast.

  • Meditation and concentration. Yoga is traditionally done in a very calm, meditative environment. Listening to your breath and letting it guide you puts you in a powerful trance of extreme concentration that you get to apply to your every day life. So much better than going to a gym blasting techno music full-bass.

  • Working flexibility is important. Sure, I want to be stronger and fitter. But I also want to avoid reaching 40 years old and not being able to tie up my own shoes.

Thank you Joe for your articulate response, you sure did inspire me.

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#29 April 1

potato
Member

Re: Exercising.

samer wrote:

Thanks Joe, I've been eyeing yoga for a while now as a good counterbalance to my olympic weightlifting routine.

It's easy to get started: just launch a youtube video and voila. Pick something for beginners and repeat it for a few days. Congrats, you're a yogi.

My concern with this approach, much like with DIY olympic weightlifting, is that you lack an important feedback loop if you don't have someone giving you real-time feedback on your form. Am I right in assuming you could hurt yourself badly doing yoga "the wrong way"?

Wait wait hold on are you telling me samer does olympic weightlifting. You've grown good on you ;)

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#30 April 2

duke-of-bytes
Member

Re: Exercising.

i do daily weight lifts ( my straight bench press is 120 kilo until failure set )
i am still struggling with cardio - but should be better in a month or so
weight 105 kgs
height 178 cm

goal weight is 95

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