Sunday, July 8, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Yoga

I have been wanting to add Yoga to my workout regimen for sometime now.  I decided it was time for a good old fashioned 30 day challenge.  I would find a Yoga routine, do it for 30 days and then report back on it here on my blog.   I have always read that Yoga provides a good balance for runners and wanted to give it a serious try.  

I started to look for a good Yoga DVD that I could do at home.  I only had a couple of requirements for my 30 day challenge: 
1.  It had to be 30 minutes or less, because my Yoga practice would be in addition to my regular daily workouts.  I wasn't interested in adding another hour a day to my workout schedule.
2.  It had to be the right balance of not-too-hard and not-too-easy.  If it was too easy I would get bored and feel like it was a waste of time.  If it was too hard I wouldn't do it on a regular basis, knowing that on most days I do Yoga I would have already lifted heavy weights and/or ran hard.  Yoga isn't intended to replace my regular workouts, just supplement them.

I had looked into a couple of Yoga DVD's but ultimately decided to try to the Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown because I love her workouts, but mainly because it was only $6 on Amazon with free shipping (I bought it along with my latest FITBOOK to meet the purchase requirements for free shipping).

I would assume that people that are serious about Yoga probably wouldn't approve of Jillian teaching a Yoga class.  She clearly isn't a Yoga guru.  She laughs about it herself on the DVD.  The reason that I like Jillian as my Yoga teacher is that she uses traditional Yoga poses, but also works in heart pumping movement.   It is definitely a hybrid style of Yoga rather than a traditional Yoga practice.

I have always read that for the maximum benefit of Yoga, you should practice everyday.  I decided to commit myself to 5-6 days a week for 30 days and see how it goes from there.

Jillian's DVD has two levels and I started with level one.  For me, level one was the perfect mix of challenging, but not too-hard.  I didn't have too much trouble with any of the poses and could make it through the 35 minutes, but still drip quite a bit of sweat on my yoga mat.   The pace is quick, so my heart is pumping, and when we would hold the poses for 15 seconds, my (insert appropriate body part here) would be shaking. Jillian had two girls to follow onscreen, one doing modifications for the beginner and one for the advanced.  I was mostly able to follow the advanced girl through all of level one.  I finished each session with a feeling that I had gotten in a good workout.  I did level one for six days the first week and then moved onto level two.

During week two I learned that level two is a little more challenging.  She uses more advanced Yoga poses in level two, and I am definitely at a  beginner level, so I was not able to do all the poses at the advanced level.  Although it was a little harder than level one, but I could still make it through most of the routine, with some modifications.  There is just one pose on this level that I really struggled with.  I love that this DVD leaves me plenty of room to grow.  This is the pose I can't do (yet).  Stay tuned.

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

During week three I decided to step it up and do level two every day. I started off a bit shaky, missing both Monday and Tuesday night.  I was back it on Wednesday after a really sweaty 100 degree run after work.  I confirmed during week three that doing my weights, yoga and running all in the same day was just too much.  Either my weight workout gave way to Yoga or vice-verse, which is fine.  As long as I was doing something productive everyday, I am happy with myself.  I only managed to get in Yoga four days this third week, but by the end of week three, I did notice definite progress in my moves.  I could now get my toes off the ground in the above pose, even if it was just for a five seconds.  That my friends, is called progress.

My last and final week, just to keep things interesting, I switched back and forth between level one and two.  I have concluded that level one is a little harder cardio-wise, even though level two has more advanced poses.  Truth be told, I missed a few days during this week, leaving me with just four days of Yoga for my final week.  Not perfect, but not bad.  Who's trying to be perfect anyway?

I would recommend this DVD to anyone who wants to incorporate Yoga into their routine.  While it may not be right for someone who wants a traditional Yoga practice, it is a good hybrid of Yoga, strength training, an ab workout, and cardio nicely wrapped up in 30-35 minute sessions.  It is perfect for someone looking to get the maximum fitness benefits out of Yoga principles.  While I won't continue to do it 5 days a week, I will definitely use this DVD on days that I can't make it to the gym for my weight workout and on the week-ends.

Keep Running,


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  1. Thanks for this. Anyone have recommendations for other yoga videos/DVDs?

    For yoga mixed with strength workouts, I love the power yoga videos from Mark Gonzales. He has a couple great 30 minute workouts available and I've just recently been able to complete his 75 min yoga videos. Marks style is very unique and inspiring and to me this is what yoga is all about.

    Links to videos:

  2. jillian michales is the best trainer ever love your biggest losser buddys

  3. What a great way to start your day. I love yoga and do it my home..

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