Today I want to share a personal story with you showing you how I’ve benefitted from yoga for weight loss, and more importantly for me, pain-free movement.
Back in 2004, I was an avid runner. I wasn’t great at it, but I enjoyed participating in local 5k’s.
I also had a job in sales that required me to be behind either the steering wheel or the computer screen for most of my work day.
In other words, when I wasn’t running I was sitting – both of which, believe it or not, are very hard on your body.
I was sitting so much that I started to get sciatic pain beginning in my right glute and shooting all the way down my leg into my toes. Try driving 3 hours with your right leg on fire but no choice but to be glued to the gas pedal.
My body was starting to morph into the shape of a chair.
I had a friend who I often ran with and she decided that we should not only run our scheduled 5k’s that summer, but we should sign up for the largest 15k (9.3 miles) in the entire country, the Utica Boilermaker, where over 11,000 runners come together to run.
So that’s what we did. And so our training began.
Over the course of that spring and summer I had to really ramp up my training. There’s a big difference between being able to run the 3.1 miles in a 5k and the 9.3 miles of the 15k.
I not only increased the time of my training runs, but I also started adding in additional training sessions. Sometimes two in one day.
I remember one spring morning when I went out for an early run by myself. I ran a very challenging 5 miles and was thrilled with my performance. I thought my training was done for the day, but later my friend called me to join her for an evening training session.
I couldn’t resist. (So stupid).
Early in our 3 mile run that evening I started to get debilitatingly sharp pains in my shins and cramps in my calf muscles. But nothing was going to prevent me from running in that 15k race, so I pushed through it. (So stupid).
For the rest of my training that summer I continued to run through the aches and pains despite my body telling me I was doing too much and that something was clearly wrong. (Have I mentioned how stupid this was?).
After a few more months of training (and sitting behind the steering wheel) we ran the Utica Boilermaker. It was a truly amazing accomplishment for us. Not only did we finish the race, we finished faster than we thought we would.
I will forever remember that day. I will remember the cheers as we crossed the finish line and hugged each other in exhaustion. I will remember the accomplishment and pride.
Most of all, unfortunately, I will remember the pain I had endured while training for the race. My legs, hips, glutes, lower back and shoulders all had some sort of tightness and pain.
In case you aren’t aware, your entire body is connected by connective tissue. Meaning, you could have some issues in your hips but the symptoms of those issues could be manifested in your lower legs. I just didn’t know that back then.
After the race, I hung up my sneakers. I haven’t run a road race since that race back in 2004.
For years, my condition lingered. Walking hurt. Sitting hurt. I felt 10 years older than I actually was.
Can you relate?
Nothing relieved my discomfort either, not deep tissue massage, active release technique, physical therapy, or stretching. I had been to every doctor possible, and no one could help me.
Consequently, over the years my physical activity decreased significantly. I could barely walk! As a result, my weight started to creep up. Over the next few years I gained 15 pounds.
I was now 15 pounds overweight, totally sedentary, and in quite a bit of pain. I had to find something to help.
I finally found yoga.
Yoga for Pain-Free Movement
My local YMCA did a massive renovation of their facility and added a warm yoga room to their new design. I found a beginners class to attend to get my feet wet and learn the moves.
To my surprise, it didn’t take long before I really loved it. Before I knew it I was taking more advanced classes and improving my ability to do poses almost daily.
I was going to several yoga sessions each week. Addicted.
Then one day I realized – my shin pain that I had just from walking had disappeared. My hips weren’t nearly as tight as they used to be and my lower back no longer hurt when I got out of bed every morning.
Had I finally found the thing that was going to get my chair-shaped body back to normal?
Yoga for Weight Loss
Not only had my new yoga addiction helped me with my pain management but I noticed that yoga for weight loss was pretty significant as well. I lost 3 pounds in my first month of consistently doing yoga alone while making no other changes to my diet or exercise routine.
You see, there’s this “flow” to yoga. This flow occurs when you move from yoga pose to yoga pose as sort of a fluid motion – it’s sort of like a dance.
The flow allows your body to get into its optimal fat burning zone, the sweet spot where it likes to be to burn extra body fat. It’s just a slow, consistent movement that burns a lot of energy (calories).
I spent a lot of time in that flow over the last few months and I really see a difference in my body – in so many ways.
Other Benefits of Yoga
Yoga for weight loss and pain management are two extremely compelling reasons why you should consider starting doing yoga today, but they’re not the only reasons.
Here’s a few other benefits to yoga:
- makes you look and feel younger
- increases your strength
- makes you more flexible
- increases your muscular endurance
- improves your aerobic capacity
- clears your mind
- provides and emotional sense of well being
- improves your posture
- decreases stress levels
- improves your concentration
- lifts your mood and spirits
- can lower blood pressure
- decreases chronic inflammation in the body
- can improve insomnia
- relieves symptoms of certain medical conditions
Can you believe something as simple as doing yoga a few times each week can produce all of those great benefits?
For me, after years of limited physical activity, I was high on the fact that I felt so good. I was becoming pain free and losing the weight I gained over the years at the same time.
I was sleeping like a rock and waking rested.
My posture, strength and flexibility were all rapidly improving.
And best of all, I wasn’t feeling 10 years older anymore. I was feeling more like me, or maybe even a few years younger.
I have continued to incorporate yoga into my life and exercise routine 1-3 times each week and have continued to make improvements in many of these areas.
I suspect I will make yoga a permanent part of my life.
Perhaps you’ll consider it as well.
***If you’d like to experience any of the benefits I did from introducing yoga into my life, including yoga for weight loss, I found a great flow yoga program you can use right at home to get you started. It will help you lose weight, decrease any physical pain you may currently have, and make you feel 10 years younger.
Now I have a question for you…
Do you have a story about how you or maybe a friend have some nagging physical issue or have gained weight recently? Have you tried yoga? If no, will you now consider giving yoga a try?
Let me know your story in the comments below.
Also, I just gave you the solution to eliminating pain from your body and another avenue for losing weight. Would you please share this article with someone you know who could benefit from this solution?