I'm always game for a sweaty HIIT workout, a weight-lifting session, and a long, satisfying run. Not being able to calm down my mind, vigorous exercise partially helps reduce the incessant whirring in my brain to a gentle humming — at least for a while.
I never considered yoga as a tool to help me reach my mental and physical goals. However, at the same time, I knew that something was lacking in my everyday routine. So, I started looking for solutions.
Eat tasty food and lose weight with Unimeal app!
Take a Quiz – Get personal meal plan – Achieve your weight goals!Start Quiz
What motivated me to join a friend for a yoga class was the fact that it was aerial yoga — a concept that sounded much more appealing than my idea of sun salutations. After that first class, I felt a sense of clarity in my mind that I've seldom felt before, so I decided to do a 30-day yoga before-and-after challenge. I was utterly blown away!
In order to tell you my yoga before and after story and how it transformed me physically and mentally, I first need to go into the yoga routine I followed the entire month.
I did one-hour yoga practice four to five times a week and mainly focused on Hatha yoga, Aerial Yoga, and Ashtanga yoga. All of these types incorporate elements of strength, flexibility, and breathing techniques. I also maintained my overall activity levels by making sure I reached 7000 - 10,000 steps a day by going for walks, taking the stairs, regularly spring-cleaning my apartment, and walking to destinations that didn't require driving.
So, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, I committed to an hour's yoga practice, with an additional Saturday morning practice if I felt like it. While I attended Aerial yoga classes, I used free online resources at home to access other yoga class options.
You may also like: Pilates vs Yoga: Which is Better for Different Purpose
Nutrition-wise, I focused on consuming lean protein, lots of fruits and veggies, and unrefined carbs without restricting myself too much if I craved something sweet.
I learned that regularly practicing yoga helps decrease cortisol levels.1Harvard Health Publishing. December 6, 2021. Yoga for weight loss: Benefits beyond burning calories. Harvard Medical School Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/yoga-for-weight-loss-benefits-beyond-burning-calories-202112062650 Cortisol is a stress hormone, and most of us have too much of it pulsing through our bloodstreams due to fast-paced and stressful lifestyles. It also causes excess belly fat, and this is an area of my body I needed to focus on as well as experiencing constant stress.
I've never considered yoga being focused on muscle toning. However, after four weeks, I could see a visible reduction in stubborn belly fat, along with slimmer legs and arms. I didn't expect to see a noticeable yoga body transformation, but overall, my body looked more svelte and toned. The scale also had something to say — I officially lost five pounds!
Apart from what I could see in the mirror, I also managed to significantly develop my core strength, and my posture has markedly improved.
One of the most challenging moves was doing a successful Chaturanga. By the fourth week, my arms were strong enough to control the transitional movement with grace.
I seriously needed to do some hip-openers, and regular one-hour sessions did the trick! Looking back, my hips and hamstrings were extremely tight, and I struggled with poses like forward folds and sinking into a Malasana without experiencing discomfort.
All it took was consistency and pushing myself a little bit more each time. Now, my legs feel more mobile, and my usually tense back muscles feel flexible and relaxed.
Don't underestimate regular yoga sessions' transformational effect on your mental health. I can finally say that my mind has the ability to switch off, the propensity to be creative, and the strength to battle through stressful situations.
Yoga practice slowed down racing thoughts and helped my mind focus on the moment instead of worrying about past or future uncertainties. The positive effects of yoga have been confirmed by clinical studies2Li AW, Goldsmith CA. March 17, 2012. The effects of yoga on anxiety and stress. Altern Med Rev. PMID:22502620; however, I needed to make that commitment to start believing by experiencing it for myself.
My thinking patterns are less erratic, and even my eating habits have changed. I've moved away from comfort eating and started seeing food as fuel, helping me to make healthier choices.
I am now able to switch off and get a good night's rest. Doing basic belly-breathing exercises before I go to sleep relaxes my entire body and helps me drift off into a deep slumber.
When I wake up, I don't feel tired, and my mind is ready to take on any challenges that await me.
It's really such a comforting feeling knowing you can rely on your mind instead of it being one of your greatest enemies. Fear and doubt melt away and opens new doors to creative ideas and problem-solving. Best of all, as the weeks progressed, I could feel my mind gradually making this shift, and I wanted to go back to practice again to maintain my newfound mental clarity.
I am stunned at how yoga changed my body before and after I decided to commit and practice yoga regularly. And I am not only referring to physical strength, fat loss, and flexibility. After a month of committing to yoga, I started adding strength training and high-intensity workouts to my routine. Still, yoga has become integral to maintaining my physical and mental health.
If you want to try the yoga before and after one month challenge, I highly recommend it. You'll become leaner, feel stronger, and start appreciating every part of your body, your mind included!
Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.
By choosing high-quality sources, we make sure that all articles on the Unimeal blog are reliable and trustworthy. Learn more about our editorial processes.