By NATASHA MCCRARY
MARIETTA, Ga. – Yoga may be one of the top exercise options in fitness, but there are still other options like weight training and Pilates that can still give similar results and options. BeYoga, X3 Sports, and the Center offer a variation of exercises and options to meet different fitness needs.
“It’s all about the results you are looking for,” Lia Jordan said. “You can try all of these workouts and see what best works for you.”
Yoga is a fitness exercise that not only helps the body, but the mind and soul as well. According to the Harvard Medical School, women who did yoga for a consecutive three-month term showed signs of improvement in stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue and over all well being.
Yoga can be defined in many different ways. The word yoga means union or connection. Yoga is a way to connect to your mind, body and soul by releasing the self to be able to understand and heal in a nurturing and peaceful way.
“Some people think yoga is just a religion, and that’s not true,” BeYoga instructor Reanna Livingston said. “It’s a way of life.”
Livingston never knew she would become a yoga instructor, but some detours in her life such as addiction and depression led her to yoga.
She was able to utilize yoga as a means of reflection and release. After time helped her heal, Livingston now said she has found her new purpose through yoga,
“I’m meant to empower my classes and guide them.”
Literature in Yoga
There are many different types of literature that can be read to understand and connect with yoga; however, it is up to each individual person to find what best piece speaks to them.
Livingston has written a book called, “The Words I Read to You” which is available for purchase in the BeYoga studio.
This book covers many different things from yoga being a sacred journey, to yoga removing fears. The book is written in a poetry style with each page displaying sayings, words to live by, and inspirations.
Livingston uses the book during her yoga sessions to make the experience more intimate and empowering for the individuals that come.
“To the ones who read between the lines. To the ones who crave words for their soul. To all the wild ones,” said Livingston.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Yoga can be broken down into the eight limbs:
- The Yama is the first limb and deals with the restraint.
- The second limb is called the Niyama and deals with inward observation like self-discipline and awareness.
- The third limb is the Asana and deals with the physical practice of yoga, which involves meditation and concentration.
- The fourth limb is the Pranayama and this is the practice of breathing exercises and strength control.
- The fifth limb is the Pratyahara and it means to somewhat rid you of the outside world and senses and connect with yourself internally.
- The sixth limb is the Dharana is the practice of concentration but on a higher spectrum.
- The seventh limb is the Dhyana and it means to be aware without focus.
- And lastly the eighth limb is the all of the limbs as one and experiencing the self-altogether.
Exercises and body types when it comes to yoga
Vinyasa and Yin are two of the main yoga exercises when it comes to beginning yoga and understanding yoga. Yin means to stretch and the exercises include stretching for one to five minutes. Vinyasa incorporates breathing exercises and helps you strengthen your lungs.
“Yoga is not specific to anybody,” Livingston said. “It is for every single body.”
Yoga can be tailored to any body type, or fitness goal from intermediate to more advanced classes.
Many classes not only help with the mind and soul, but also can help improve injuries like broken feet, or strained limbs. Yoga instructors will offer ways to modify some moves in efforts to offer more options in order for everyone in their classes do well and grow without hurting themselves more.
In research studies, Dr. Herbert Benson explains that the mind can help in healing the body. His studies show how yoga helps in the relaxation processes allowing the body to respond by reducing blood pressure, improving digestion and reducing stress over the body.
The BeYoga studio not only offers a chance to participate in beginner and intermediate classes, but its website also breaks down all of the classes currently being offered from hot yoga to basic and intermediate forms of yoga.
BeYoga also offers teacher training for those who want to instruct yoga for only about $500 for the entire course. Workshops are also offered at the studio including assistant teacher trainings and meditation classes/trainings. One class even includes tactics on how to hold good posture.
The studio offers a clean, airy feel to it as it shares a space with a smoothie bowl shop called TopDog that offers great, healthy alternatives before and after class starts.
Fitness is for everyone, but yoga may not be what most people want to try or do; therefore, that is where personal training and Pilates come into the picture.
Alicia Brown is a personal trainer at X3 sports where she focuses on strength training and agility. She decided to become a personal trainer after working out herself and finding the joy she gained from seeing herself grow in this fitness category.
X3 Sports studio offers many different types of workouts from kickboxing to traditional boxing, weightlifting, strength training and CrossFit.
The gym can be used to take personal training classes, or to just do independent workouts. It is a small studio that allows for a closer relationship with trainers and staff instead of a bigger gym that offers little to no opportunity to build lasting relationships and connections.
“Personal training is much more than just personal training,” Brown said. “It deals a lot with the mind, body and soul just like yoga does.”
The gym also offers a free first class session to get an introductory feel of what a weekly or daily workout would consist of.
“I wouldn’t say that personal training is for a specific body type of person,” Brown said. “I think personal training is more about setting goals and conquering them.”
Pilates is another exercise that is about maintaining inner and outer strength. It encompasses some of the same types of training as yoga, but focus on different goals for the body.
Pilates puts more of a focus on relaxing tense muscles in the body and increasing strength in the muscles, whereas yoga looks to improve the flexibility of the muscles.
The Center, A Pilates Studio located in East Cobb, specializes in Pilates for all ages. It offers different types of workouts such as Golf Fitness, Back Care and Self Myofascial Release.
Lia Jordan is a Stott Pilates fully certified instructor. Jordan was a long distance runner and endured hip and knee pain, but once she started to do Pilates her pain in both the hip and knee went away. She no longer has those health issues.
“Pilates is a benefit because it strengthens your core, while improving your balance and assisting with coming across fewer injuries,” Jordan said.
The Center offers more than 15 classes per week in rotation of different classes. The matt Pilates are the tougher classes while the basic Pilates classes are for beginners. The Center offers both one-on-one training and large class sizes. Many people come to the studio to do preventative surgery exercises as well as build muscle and strength.
“Decide on the kind of workout you are looking to accomplish and then go from there when choosing between yoga, personal training, and Pilates,” Brown said. “There are so many more avenues of fitness then just those three so do your research and believe in yourself.”