September is a great time of year for reflection. It’s the beginning of a new semester, it’s the kick off to a new season, and for a lot of people, it’s the beginning of a new year. What better time to refocus your fitness goals and set new challenges!
The beautiful thing about exercise is that you can customize it to meet your fitness goals, and yoga is no different. There’s yoga for back pain, yoga for improved balance, yoga for core strength, yoga for better flexibility, and so on. Yoga for Fitmark Ambassador, Jenna Dillard, is all about strength and focus.
Hollow back handstand is my go-to pose these days! I love kicking up into a handstand and making shapes like this. This is where I can breathe and calm my mind. Being upside down has always been calming and comfortable for me, now that I am able to hang out there for a while it allows me to really focus my thoughts.
Jenna has “always been super active.” She “was a gymnast as a kid,” and has found that this kind of body-weight training has helped build the strength she needs to perfect her yoga poses. She also finds that building muscle through weight lifting increases her strength potential. She says,
Two years ago I found yoga, and it changed my life! I began transforming my life through lifting weights, yoga and calisthenics. I have never been a one size fits all kind of athlete. Lifting heavy weights is challenging and fun but I have always wanted more than to just pick up heavy stuff. I have always strived for performance… This is where calisthenics and yoga come into play. Without the mobility from yoga I could not do what I do. Without the training from body-weight movements, I could not perform at my max potential.
Scorpion pose is one of my all-time favorite poses. This is the ultimate challenge of strength, flexibility and balance all coming together. This is the hardest pose for me currently which is why I love it so much. You cannot muscle your way through this pose, it takes time to develop the flexibility to open your spine and chest, but without strength you cannot hold yourself up to create the balance needed.
We were so impressed with scorpion pose, we had to show you twice:
Family day at the pool with all our healthy meals and snacks in my favorite #nicebag from @fitmarkbags I’m a busy mom and nursing student. Having this bag helps me to stay on track with my eating and it’s big enough to pack snacks for me and my sons on days like today!! And it’s camo!!! Love it!
The next yoga pose on Jenna’s list for strength and focus is a one-arm balance, quite possibly the hardest yoga pose to conquer. Yet it’s one of Jenna’s favorite poses because it brings her joy from laughing at herself when she falls, and from the sense of achievement when it goes well.
One-armed forearm balances are such a fun pose to practice. Practicing any skill on one arm takes lots of patience and a good sense of humor. Just when you think you’ve got it balanced perfectly, you have a humbling moment and fall on your face! I always make sure I have a good exit strategy before working through any of these poses. But I do think falling time and time again keeps it lighthearted, because it’s so easy to get frustrated with yourself.
Yoga is a practice that teaches you patience and forgiveness: patience to keep persevering through the poses, and forgiveness when you fall or fail. Like any exercise discipline, the benefits go way beyond the physical. What are some of your fitness goals this season?
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team