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Five reasons to hit your yoga mat and not the gym

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(especially if you've recently had a baby)

We’ve all see the pictures of celebrity mums who get back on the red carpet seemingly moments after having given birth.  Kudos to Gwyneth Paltrow who was honest in a recent interview and actually said ‘It’s not an accident. It’s not luck, it’s not fairy dust, it’s not good genes. It’s killing myself for an hour and a half five days a week … or if I’ve been eating a lot of pie, I do two hours a day, six days a week.’  But if like me you’d rather spend that precious time with your children (or with a nice cup of tea and a good book) there are still creative ways you can get some exercise in and feel good about yourself to boot; yoga could be the answer and here’s why:

  1. Yoga will improve body image and self-esteem. Going to the gym might not! This is especially the case if you choose a yoga class which is tailored for Mums and Bubs. You’ll be in good company and won’t feel self-conscious if you still have a baby bump or don’t feel toned.
  2. Yoga will increase energy rather than burning you out. Most yoga practices are designed to replenish your store house of energy rather than draining it.  The way breathing is instructed in yoga has a lot to do with this.  If you learn to use your diaphragm right when you are breathing you won’t deprive yourself of oxygen which could leave you feeling more exhausted after a workout than revitalized.
  3. If you are really too exhausted to exercise yoga still has something to offer.  Try ‘Yoga Nidra’ (otherwise known as deep relaxation where the teacher guides you through a visualization designed to refresh body and spirit) or meditation (which can be really helpful in adjusting to all the changes becoming a new mother brings along).
  4. You don’t need any fancy machines to practice yoga and you can practice at home. Sometimes it’s a challenge to even leave the house when you have a little one.  If you get yourself a good yoga DVD you don’t have to leave your lounge room to benefit.
  5. Because as little as ten minutes makes a difference. Really.  If you’re tired, frazzled and in desperate need of some ‘me time’ as little as ten minutes of breathing, stretching and relaxing can totally change your state of mind.
  6. And last but not least the vibe in most yoga studios is relaxed, welcoming and nurturing.  Just what you need in those precious moments of time to yourself.
  7. To find yoga classes near you (anywhere in Australia) check out www.findyoga.com.au

Main image: from here

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Have you changed from working out at the gym to doing instead yoga? Did you notice any benefits?

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Katie Manitsas - to view all of Katie's blog post click here

Katie is the director of Jivamukti Yoga Sydney. She was the first certified Advanced Jivamukti Yoga teacher in Australia, and has also studied extensively with the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda and is a qualified Kundalini Yoga teacher. Katie is a writer for various publications and has had three books published 'Spiritual Survival and the City', 'Yoga Off the Mat' and 'The Yoga of Birth'. She also completed training as a doula in 2009 and is mother to five-year-old Christos and two-year-old Ziggy who was born at home.

Website: http://www.jivamuktiyoga.com.au

  • This is just what I needed to read right now, looking forward to a few mat minutes in between breastfeeding and bedtime arguments…

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