To keep fit I do a tiny bit of weight lifting coupled with lots of time on my indoor exercise bike. Although I enjoy the benefits of strength training and a vigorous cardio workout, it wasn’t until I began to integrate some Yoga poses that I really felt my exercise program was complete.

Sweating and toiling seemed to me to be full of negative energy. In my efforts to live a holistic healthy lifestyle, this really rubbed against the grain for me. I didn’t want to just be fit. I didn’t want to just be physically healthy. I also wanted to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit and healthy. Yoga has seemed to finally fill in the gap where something was missing and has pulled everything together in a more meaningful way.

After my workout, I wind down with Yoga poses that guide me through some stretches and techniques that target my major muscle groups. The stretching improves my flexibility, range of motion and helps to decrease my after work out muscle soreness no to mention refocus my mind. I am not a young gal anymore and have found that my new Yoga routine has also decreased the typical aches and pains in my back and joints that I had come to believe I was just going to have to live with.

The equipment I use for my Yoga exercises are my body and mind. First, focusing on my breathing, I ease into a Fan pose. After holding this pose I transition into a revolved fan. I complete my post-workout Yoga stretching with the Garland pose. I repeat this cycle three times. Below I have listed the instructions for each pose:

Fan pose: Spread legs apart as far as possible with feet flat on the floor, arms dangling loose, hands at sides. Breathe in deeply. As you exhale, slowly lift arms above head. Breathe deeply. As you exhale, bend at the waist allowing the back to stretch as you touch your toes with your fingers. Hold the pose for thirty seconds inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly.

Revolved Fan pose: Still bent at waist in Fan pose, place one hand palm down, centered between feet. Breathe in deeply. As you exhale twist at waist and raise opposite arm straight up in the air. Hold pose for thirty seconds inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly. Repeat on other side.

Garland Pose: Breathe deeply in Revolved Fan pose. Exhale and transition to Fan pose. Breathe deeply. Exhale and rise, lifting arms over head in a wide circle. As you lower your arms, descend into a deep squat, resting elbows on knees, hands resting loosely upon one another. Hold pose for ten seconds, inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly. Rise and stretch and descend into pose once more, holding for ten seconds.

This gentle stretching routine is simple yet I have benefited so much from it. By the time I finish the negative energy I accumulated during my weight lifting and cycling has vanished. My mind and body feel cleansed and lighter. If you deal with thoughts during your work out like I do that are telling you, “This bike seat is so uncomfortable. I don’t really have to do three sets of curls. I just don’t have time for all of this, etc.,” you may also benefit from the positive effects of a post-workout Yoga stretch routine.