Yoga hearts the gym

It’s nearly Valentines Day, and I’ve found the perfect match: yoga and the gym.

In an earlier post, I told you I have a hamstring injury. I think it might be because I supinate, (where the foot rolls out more than it should) but that’s a different post.

It’s not serious but I’ve been dealing with the dreaded ‘sit bone pain’ on and off for a while. To help with recovery, I’ve modified my yoga practice.

And I’ve been going to the gym.

I had always shied away from the gym because I thought: hey, the world is your gym! (a la Jeremy from Peep Show). Who wants to run on a machine?

(I haven’t used the running machine because I still sort of feel like that).

But the weights! Oh boy.

If anyone has overstretched their hamstring and has sit bone pain (a super common yoga injury) – let me introduce you to deadlifting. Or leg curls.

It feels amazing to use gentle weights to strengthen an overworked hamstring. Seriously.

Yes, yoga provides a full body workout – there are plenty of hamstring strengthening exercises (locust, warrior 3).

But if you have hurt yourself and need to build strength in targeted muscle groups, then get thee to a gym.

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Control

How attached are we to control? We control everything: what we eat, how we spend out free time, who we spend it with. This can be a great thing. We feel like we are making good choices by doing things we want.

What happens when our control is challenged? When things happen that we don’t choose. When choices are taken away from us.

How can yoga help us with this?

Our control of external things is an illusion. We are never really ‘in control’.

Through the practice of yoga we can start to see that this idea is just that – an idea. But we can shape our reactions as we choose.

Yoga can help us control our mind. Pranayama (breath work) is control of the breath. Asana (physical practice) is control of the body.

Both of them, with practice, help to control our thoughts, help to calm the ‘monkey mind.’ The mind that jumps from one thought to the next, screeching for your attention.

Through our practice, we can begin to change that. We can control our reactions, but we must see that we cannot control our world.

“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” BKS Iyengar.