Yoga: For Athletes, For Everyone

by Michelle Mednini, Certified Personal Trainer at acac West Chester

In a world saturated with a “go hard or go home” mentality, some of us may find it challenging to slow down when it comes to working out. We seek activities known for intensity and adrenaline-inducing upbeat music over something like yoga, better known for loud breathing and stretching. As an experienced kickboxer, I found yoga to be extremely boring for many years because of this misconception. Last spring, however, I changed my tune.

I was introduced to Power Yoga (a form of Vinyasa Yoga) through a local studio and decided to sign up for a teacher training course. As I attended the various lectures and yoga classes required of the course, I noticed changes in both my physical and mental self. My body was becoming “lean and mean,” my flexibility was drastically improving, and I felt a decreased level of stress in all areas of life. I also began to appreciate the artistic style of flowing yoga.

Flowing yoga is a movement-based style of yoga that mixes cardiovascular activity with held isometric poses. Students build strength by relying on their bodyweight to move through the sequence. While working on my flow, I was consistently reminded by my yoga instructors that yoga is an individual practice and we do not need to compare ourselves to anyone else’s style or level of study. Yoga is a positive practice of self-care not just for your body, but for your mind and for your soul. Even though you’re in a “classroom” setting, you are encouraged to be physically and emotionally free. Teachers will guide you throughout your practice, reminding you when to inhale and exhale to maximize your concentration, but ultimately each class is your own.

After diving deeper into my Power Yoga practice and feeling the many positive results of flowing yoga, I realized something. I, the kickboxer—the woman who loves to weight train, use battle ropes, and listen to loud music while I’m working out—also love the artistic style of Power Yoga.

If you knew that practicing Power Yoga would help you decrease stress, increase your flexibility, and complete an intense workout, why wouldn’t you try? As a personal trainer who knows the benefits of yoga both personally and professionally, I strongly encourage you to start practicing. Challenge yourself for one month to engage in two to three classes per week. Try classes of varying styles and levels of intensity to find what works best for you. Instructors will provide modifications for each pose—don’t be hard on yourself if you need them! Allow yourself to rest or reset in child’s pose if needed, and enjoy the journey. Change does not happen overnight; it is a continued process of loving yourself and working hard.

If you’re new to yoga and would like to learn more, visit one of our locations below to view our various mind body facilities, designed especially for you and your practice.

Charlottesville | Eagleview | Germantown | Hunt Valley | Midlothian | Short Pump | Timonium | West Chester