Just over a month ago, I started going to a yoga class here in Bristol, finally getting to tick something off my ‘I should really get around to this someday’ list. What finally pushed me into action was the frustration I felt at my body’s lack of flexibility, experienced week after week during the warm-up in my martial arts training, coupled with the realisation that I am not getting any younger.
I tried yoga once years ago, spending a good few days after the class in considerable discomfort after pushing myself further than I was really capable of. I didn’t go back. This time around however, I have been taking it easier and running through a series of poses at home a few times a week in addition to the weekly class.
Believing yoga practitioners these days to be mostly yummy mummies, before I started I didn’t think it was going to be amongst the most hardcore exercise I have ever done; I was wrong. Holding some of the poses is so challenging I shake (and sweat) from the effort. My feelings towards downward facing dog can best be described as love-hate. A few weeks in and I am definitely becoming more flexible and toned.
With London hosting this year’s Olympic Games, I imagine a few of us will be inspired to take up some kind of sport. While the main, well-known benefits of regular exercise are important to me, I have to admit that my motivations are sometimes a little less virtuous. Indulging in a long, hot shower with Aromatherapy Associates products, followed by a glass of dry white wine, a packet of Nairn’s chocolate oatcakes and a good book has long been one of my favourite ways to relax; now it feels like I have truly earned it.
The following advice is from Bristol-based personal trainer Victoria Armstrong:
- Rehydrate, both internally and externally, during and after exercise
- Change your products to something gentle if you are washing your hair more frequently
- Use sweat-proof sunscreen if you are training outside
- Have a salt bath to help with delayed onset muscle soreness (the aching that hits you a day or two after exercise)
- Use lavender aromatherapy products for relaxing, or grapefruit and rosemary based ones if you need to re-energise.