Yoga’s an interesting one isn’t it. All that bending and balancing but none of the puffing and panting associated (by me at least) with walking up a hill or running.
At least that’s what I thought until I tried yoga for myself.
Turns out it makes me rather sweaty!
Yoga with Adriene
Just before Christmas I was a pain in the a***. I had somehow hurt my glutes, was struggling to walk any distance, and was seeking exercise relief online.
And up popped Yoga with Adriene.
Another thing that popped up was an article that started,
‘An aesthetic pair of glutes is seen as a sign of fitness and youth.’
I ignored that one because I wasn’t sure how to measure my glutes on the aesthetic scale. Are we talking revealed here? If so do pimples have to be taken into account? I have no idea but the questions are endless.
What I do know though is that I’ve really fallen for Adriene, her yoga, and her calm, encouraging manner.
The glutes are now more comfortable (if not more aesthetic). So I have embarked on a 30-day yoga program.
I am surprising myself.
am was possibly the most unbalanced, wobbly person I know. Ten year ago when I visited the physiotherapist after breaking an ankle, she said (more than once),
‘I can see why you broke that in the first place.’
Balance can be a predictor of life expectancy
In one of his Just One Thing podcasts (all really interesting) Dr Michael Mosley talks about a study, which found that if (like me) you’re 53, and can only stand on one leg for two seconds, you’re three times more likely to die before the age of 66 than your friend who is also 53, and can do it for 10 seconds or more.
I can stand on one leg for longer now.
And also on three legs.
That’s what yoga, and one-legged teeth brushing have done for me. The latter was Dr Moseley’s idea. I’m not sure it’s been all that good for my teeth.
Which I might need if I get to 66.
So is yoga better than walking?
It’s no secret that I love walking both for my work as a freelance outdoor writer, and for pleasure. So I was interested to find out whether or not sacrificing a bit of my walking time to keep up the yoga practice would have an adverse effect on my health.
Here’s what the NHS said.
‘Stop making excuses and do both!’
Actually they didn’t say those exact words but their exercise guidance for adults aged 19 to 64 was quite clear. Apparently I should aim to do:
Strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week
At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.
Which means that my question about whether yoga or walking is better for me doesn’t really need an answer. I just need to do both.
But because I know you’re curious. Here are my calorie burns for 30 minutes doing my three main exercise activities.
Yoga stretches – 168 calories
Walking – 252 calories
Swimming – 252
Not bad if I want to exercise for 90 minutes, and just eat vegetable soup and salad!
Yoga is making me a better walker
As well as being pretty bad at brushing my teeth on one foot, I tend to be a bit wobbly when I’m out walking.
Fine on the pavement but not so good cross-country.
Last weekend I found myself at the top of a steep, very slippery slate path. The terrain was bad enough for my confidence levels but the addition of sideways rain, and a flooded torrent below caused me to hesitate.
It was the only way down so I had to go for it.
As my feet slipped underneath me, I was more than a tad nervous but then I remembered the yoga. I reminded myself I now had a firmer connection with the ground as well as increased strength and flexibility.
Two things that turned out to be very helpful when I realised it wasn’t just me slipping, the path itself was moving too.
But what about outdoor yoga?
I have a confession to make here. I have, in the past, had a giggle or two at people doing yoga outside.
I don’t laugh anymore!
This stuff isn’t easy!
Anyone who can balance in those ways, wherever they are has my admiration.
I did however giggle when, later in our walk, my sister skidded gently downhill, right foot first, to land gracefully in pigeon pose.
Which was apparently good for her hips and back.
But not her waterproof trousers!
I suspect it was the ridiculous weather situation (sideways exfoliating rain), which led to us then deciding to come up with a series of our own outdoor yoga poses to accompany our new MUDDY PIGEON POSE. All related to walking but linked somehow with traditional yoga.
You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not to join in.
Or whether you want to stick to more sensible indoor yoga with Adriene.
Yoga update March 2022
I felt so emotional and empowered after finishing my 30-day online yoga program that I started another one almost immediately (also nearly finished).
I’m discovering yoga has a positive impact on my whole life.
I use the breathing to calm me, and feel mentally and physically stronger than I have for a long time. I’m also discovering that it isn’t getting the moves exactly right that matters, it’s finding what feels good for me.
Yoga retreats in Norfolk
I’m even feeling ready perhaps, when the sun comes out, for a bit of outside yoga.
It might make me laugh but that’s a good thing.
If you’re interested in exploring the benefits of yoga in a natural and relaxed environment, you might want to take a look at these yoga retreats on the beautiful west Norfolk coast.
I’ve known Bridget for a fair few years now, she’s a talented lady with a really interesting set of life experiences. She’s worked all over the world, studied yoga in India, Indonesia and Thailand, and is even certified as a free diver.
I’ve put this particular yoga retreat firmly on my ‘would really like to experience’ list.