A guest post by Tully Lou – Creative Director of Tully Lou Activewear & Yoga Teacher
Everything in moderation right? How many times have we heard this before? From the likes of the gorgeous Miranda Kerr talking about her diet, to the health expert who is telling you how much red wine you should be consuming every day, it seems moderation is the key to finding balance, but does it apply to everything? There is no secret that too much of the bad stuff can lead to extreme medical problems, like that of obesity and heart disease, but what about Yoga? How much is too much?
Whilst you won’t be on the next flight to heart disease with regular yoga practice, there is a point in which you can overdo it. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing. How do we know when we have gone a little OTT on the Yoga mat? Tully Lou shares her wisdom and personal experiences with ‘An Apple a Day’ readers.
Lesson 1: Everyone is different
Everyone walks into a yoga room with a different physical make-up, a different level of stress in their lives, a different diet, a different level of hydration and a different set of daily circumstances. To compare your posture to the person next to you, is like comparing apples with oranges. Let go of expectations and simply just be yourself in that moment. Listening to your body is key to a healthy regular practice.
Lesson 2: Know the difference between pain and discomfort
You may not be gumby in the front row or the strong sweaty dude over in the corner, but just like these inspiring and incredibly flexible role modes, we are our own individual being and each and everyone of us tolerate pain and discomfort differently. What is pain? What is discomfort?
Discomfort: Discomfort is often a part of exercise training that can indicate your practice is pushing you to improve strength and flexibility. Discomfort is generally located in the muscles and is experienced as a burning sensation. Discomfort is something we feel when we are in the posture breathing calmly & present. Wait it out.
Pain– Pain is the body’s primary warning signal that alerts us to a problem. It tends to come on suddenly and is sharp, pointed or shooting. It is often located in our joints. When you are experiencing pain, STOP IMMEDIATELY.
Lesson 3: Let go of your ego
When you are rocking out a killer standing bow posture sometimes your ego will get in the way, it will push you harder, faster, further and encourage you to maintain that posture at all costs. This becomes a problem when pain starts to occur. This then becomes a battle of the ego vs. our body’s limitations. As soon as we experience pain, we need to let go of our ego in order to prevent injury.
Lesson 4: Know your current limitations
We all know that yoga can become a little addictive, the natural high and all the amazing medical benefits that come from your practice is something we all love. In no way is this article encouraging us not to practice everyday, it is more so aligned with encouraging everyone to be aware of your current state of mind and body. When we ignore what our body is trying to tell us it can lead to injuries, poor alignment and makes it so much harder to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
Tully’s Top Tips for Preventing Injury
- Learn how to listen to your body and always stopping when something feels painful
- Pay attention your breath – Make sure you are not holding your breath throughout any of the postures during your practice.
- If you are exhausted and completely worn out, then it is completely OK to have a rest day! Rest days are an important part of any exercise program. Just like runners and weight lifters, it is important for yogis to realize that the body does need to rest and repair every once and a while.
- If a rest day is simply not on your yogi agenda and you’re feeling great, my advice to you would be mix it up a little bit! Come and do a Bikram class with me, try yin, do vinyasa. Change it up a little to avoid overworking particular muscle groups and joints.
- Most importantly, have fun and listen to that body. It’s the only one you’re given.
Love and Light,
TULLY LOU ACTIVEWEAR – Fashion forward performance wear designed for yoga, gym, fitness and the street. www.tullylou.com