Ask most mothers out there about their thoughts on diet and exercise and many will look distraught just beginning the conversation. While a clean diet and being active are supposed be two things that make us feel better in our day to day lives, for most mothers, dieting is nothing more than a four letter word they shout out every time they catch a glimpse of themselves in the mirror, and exercise is just one more thing they have to do that day.
That’s why it was so refreshing to talk to Kristin McGee about her approach to fitness. Kristin, a personal yoga instructor to such celebrities as Tina Fey and Bethenny Frankel, has a very different method. She focuses the majority of her fitness routine on yoga. In fact if you ask her about yoga, one of the first things she will explain to you is her “Bendigirl” philosophy on the practice. Kristin understands that some women shy away from yoga due to a lack of confidence in their bodies, a lack of flexibility, or a lack of desire to spend hours meditating in a cross legged position while chanting. Her Bendigirl philosophy is about finding your own flexibility, your own comfort zone, and most importantly about finding a connection with your own body.
As Kristin explained,“Many women in the gym are just going through the motions of a workout. They are not really connecting with their bodies and what is going on; they are just working out to work out.”
According to Kristin, it is this lack of connection that leads to most women skipping from diet to diet and workout to workout, all the time feeling frustrated and disappointed.
Yoga can be a full body workout. It can serve as both a strength training and cardio session, and it can burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories per session depending on which form of it you are practicing, but the big difference is that yoga can also help you develop a true connection with yourself. Kristin believes those who practice yoga on a regular basis really begin to understand what their body needs. Those needs can range from a good rest, to a run outside, to even choosing fruit salad over a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. In short, Kristin believes that every body is different, so if you are not in tune with your body, how can you give it what it needs to function properly?
In addition to long, lean muscles and the ability to finally hear what your body is asking for over that negative voice in your head, is an ability to find calmness through the stress of your life. This is why Kristin believes that yoga is a tremendous workout for women during pregnancy and post pregnancy. Yoga not only allows women the flexibility of being able to perform the practice anywhere at any time, but the practice also assists them in creating the mental serenity that is needed to get through anything; from the pain of labor to a baby who screams and cries all day long.
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Along with the mental balance that yoga creates, is a physical balance within your body… literally! Ever notice how if you carry your baby on one hip for too long you feel as if something is just a little off? Or how when trying to manage your purse, diaper bag, and stroller, you feel as if you’re leaning to one side a little too much? It’s because your body is compensating for all of the imbalances. Yoga corrects these imbalances in your spine and hips. Yoga also helps to balance hormones, something we all need during pregnancy and nearly every day that follows. The practice of yoga has even been shown to decrease cortisol levels and increase endorphins in the body. This means less stress, less belly fat, and a happier you every time you roll out your mat for practice!
If all of this were not enough to have you dropping to the ground for an immediate downward dog, yoga can also improve your sex life. Sure the fact that you become more flexible through the practice will certainly make the act much more adventurous, but yoga also helps you to focus on the act itself instead of just going through the motions while you try to remember if you washed all of the baby bottles for the sitter tomorrow. Physically speaking, yoga also strengthens the pelvic wall which leads to stronger and more frequent orgasms!
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So the next time that you find yourself stressed out, unbalanced, or simply in need of a new workout, give yoga a try. With all of its benefits, both mentally and physically, isn’t it about time you got your asana on?