YOGA: MY LIFE-CHANGER
At a post-partum weight of 240 lbs, I was embarrassed and ashamed of the weight I had put on during my pregnancy. Like most first-time moms, from the moment I had my son life abruptly changed. I didn't make any time for myself; once a long-distance runner. 1 was familiar with pushing myself but no longer felt the urge to push; I didn't feel like going to the gym; I didn't want to do anything.
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I was completely stuck in a rut and I lacked the ambition and drive that had once defined me. After several weeks of feeling hopeless, it became evident that to be a good mom I needed to restore balance to my life. Then, early one Saturday morning I attended my first hot yoga class and everything changed.
From the moment 1 strode through the doors of the studio, an amazingly supportive environment enveloped me. It didn't matter that I had gained weight; or that I had never been to a class before, the intimidation I felt stepping out of my comfort zone became distant. The teacher was encouraging; she gently challenged me to open my mind and body; to give yoga a chance to help find the balance I was looking for. I felt immediate benefits: stronger, happier, inspired and much more.
Yoga has been a life-changer for me. It’s helped me become more patient; to enjoy simple things and to both challenge and treat my body well. I attribute my new mental and physical strength to my yoga practice and after a little over a year I’ve lost 60lbs! It wouldn't have happened without the encouragement of my sister and several teachers along the way – so thank you. I can'i imagine what life would've been like had I not crossed the threshold of the studio that early Saturday morning, but I'm glad I'll never know!
It's good that you've started practising yoga at home but you should think about joining a class where you can get supervision from a trained yoga teacher. Unless you are out of action for a long time. I think your flexibility will be back to what it was after a few yoga classes, but I strongly advise you not practise any asanas until your injury is fully healed.
I get terrible period pains for about 3-days each month. I find it difficult to concentrate on anything and just want to curl up in bed. Can you suggest any yoga poses to help alleviate the pain and let me live a normal life?
I suggest you regularly perform yoga exercises in the weeks before your period starts as this will stimulate and regulate your hormonal system. During painful periods, you can practise forward bends including Janu Sirshasana (Head to knee forward bend) and Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend) will help with cramps and heavy bleeding. You should also take a look at your diet and make sure you eat lots of fruit and vegetables and avoid processed foods, sugars and alcohol. It could be worth getting a blood test to check whether you suffer from anaemia. A lot of women who suffer with this condition also experience painful periods, but taking iron tablets can help your body cope with pain.
I experience drowsiness and tiredness sometimes but recently it's getting worse. I've looked at my diet and have cut out junk food and caffeine. Can you recommend any yoga exercises to help?
Your body is probably adjusting to the elimination of the refined sugar and caffeine, so you should increase your intake of fruit, as their natural sugars will give you more energy. I recommend you practise Sitakari. A pranayama exercise which will help balance the body and give yourself a natural lift. Sit down in Padma-sana (Lotus) or Siddhasana (Perfect pose).
Touch the tip of the tongue on the palate of your mouth. The centre of the tongue should meet the lips. Suck the air through your mouth using the seeee’ sound and hold the breath for as long as possible. Exhale through the nose. Repeat the exercise a few times.
Try this exercise daily for 30-days.