Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yoga and the Latest in Strength Training

There's been enough complaining about being sick, but I'm still recovering in my training. As I'm looking outside, I'm itching to go running, but I have that latent fear of being found in a snow drift four days after I've collapsed in the middle of mile two. But I'm trying to be sensible.

Because of various reasons (OK, I left my rec. center card in my swimming parka at work and I don't have the code to get into my building), I can't go to the rec. center, so I'm left to my at-home resources and the great outdoors. And that really means I'm left to my at-home resources, which include a stability ball, yoga mat and some free weights.

Although I have been formulating my own weight training plan, there is a number of great resources on the Web for finding the best exercises to isolate your muscle groups. Core strengthening and general muscle development are my foci, but I'm also a big fan of yoga for endurance.

That's right: yoga. I get too much flack from people who claim to be athletes and still shun yoga as an exercise. Probably because they're afraid to try it.

As it turns out, you don't have to sweat profusely as you huff-and-puff your way to exhaustion to get a good workout. Vinyasa (flow) yoga, in particular, gives you a workout that will have you wincing the next morning. Not only does it improve your flexibility and stamina in general, you'll find the extra energy and muscles you never knew you had. Plus it's low-impact and easy on your body when done correctly.

If you're interested in trying Vinyasa yoga, check out this podcast by Pablo Domene Lee, who teaches a "power vinyasa" session that will make you hurt so good. This Vinyasa podcast isn't for beginners (especially because it's all audio and you can't see his movements or follow along if you're not familiar with the lingo), so you might want to take a class or try a yoga DVD at home.

If you're near Kent, the rec. center offers great yoga classes, including an inspiring section of Vinyasa taught by a real guru named Rhonda. She knows her stuff. But if you're anywhere else in the world, I'm sure there is a reputable yoga center nearby. Yoga is one of the longest-lasting exercises in the world, so it has to be doing something right.