How yoga complements any fitness routine

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How yoga complements any fitness routine

How yoga complements any fitness routine

When it comes to fitness, there’s often no single workout you can do to stay in tip-top shape. Running alone isn’t enough. Neither is strength training or swimming. Or even yoga, for that matter. The key is to mix things up and keep your body (and mind) healthy in many areas. 

Fitness experts (like the Mayo clinic) say that a well-rounded fitness program includes a blend of cardio, strength, core, balance, and flexibility. That’s why yoga makes for that perfect complement to other forms of exercise. By adding a session of yoga even once or twice a week, you can do more of what you love—for longer.

For our runners and triathletes out there, yoga helps stretch out your legs, feet, shoulders, arms, upper and lower back and moves all that connective tissue. It’s a great way to keep your legs limber, shoulders and back healthy and primed to carry you many miles for many years to come.

For our weightlifters and crossfitters, yoga helps you relax and recover from the strain. It activates slow-twitch muscle fibers that are harder to get to in the usual ways. All of which can help reduce the risk of injury.

For our desk jockeys, yoga can help ease the stress that tends to accumulate in our necks and shoulders when we sit hunched over the keyboard all day.

In short, yoga is for everyone. It gives you an opportunity to check in with your body and see where you’re tight, tender, or out of balance. So whether you’re looking to compete in the next Iron Man or just looking to keep your blood pressure down, yoga can help make that happen. 

Stop by a class, and we’d be happy to show you poses geared toward your lifestyle and fitness goals. See you at the studio!

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Why we’re called Yoga8

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Why we’re called Yoga8

People who are new to the studio are often curious about where the name Yoga8 comes from. So we thought we’d share an overview of the inspiration behind our name. 


First, a quick history lesson. The practice of yoga has been around for a long time, more than 4,000-5,000 years. In the early days, knowledge was passed down from teacher to student orally, by memorizing verses and poems. Then eventually, a sage named Patanjali wrote down what we now know as the 8 limbs of yoga.

Hence the name Yoga8. When you come practice with us, you’ll not only get a great workout. You’ll also learn techniques to improve both your mental and physical wellbeing. Because yoga is about much more than just doing chaturangas (yogi push-ups) or touching your toes. It’s a set of guidelines for how to treat yourself—and the people around you. Basically, it’s a way of living. When you practice all 8 limbs of yoga, you’re well on your way to a more meaningful, purposeful life. 

Here are the 8 limbs, in a nutshell.

1. Yamas: Ethical standards

The yamas are best practices for how to treat others. These include:

  • Ahimsa (non-harming)

  • Satya (truthfulness)

  • Asteya (non-stealing)

  • Bramarcharya (balance + moderation)

  • Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

2. Niyamas: Self-disciplines

The niyamas are guidelines for personal discipline. These include: 

  • Saucha (cleanliness of the mind and body)

  • Santosa (contentment)

  • Tapas (purifying heat)

  • Svadhyaya (self-study)

  • Iswara pranidhana (surrender to God)

3. Asana: Poses

When most people think of yoga, this is what they tend to think of first. Asanas are a series of physical poses that can help develop your strength, flexibility, and balance. Some are even designed just to help you relax or meditate. These include everything from adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog) all the way through virabhadrasana III (warrior 3).

4. Pranayama: Breath control

Pranayama exercises involve controlling your breath, everything from simply matching the length of your inhales and exhales to doing one of our favorites here at the studio: breath of fire. Breathing exercises are a great way to calm and cleanse your body and mind. 

5. Pratyahara: Sense withdrawal

Pratyahara is commonly translated as “withdrawal of the senses.” This is an internal practice where you learn to detach from your external senses as well as any internal emotions that take away from the stillness of your mind. 

6. Dharana: Focused concentration

Dharana means fixing your attention onto a single spot. It could be something external (like a flickering flame), or something internal (like your breathing or a silent mantra). When you have mastered dharana without any effort, then you’re meditating, which brings us to the next limb.

7. Dhyana: Meditation

Closely related to dharana, dhyana is the meditation limb of yoga. This is where you’re able to consistently and effortlessly focus your attention on a point, object, or idea. Meditation is a great way to work through difficult emotions, improve memory and attention, and much more. It’s also the prelude to limb number 8.

8. Samadhi: Bliss

That moment at the end of yoga class where you feel completely relaxed and content—that’s samadhi. It’s the final stage of yoga, where you’ve done such a great job clearing your mind and meditating that you experience a state of bliss. You can’t really practice samadhi on its own, as it comes up spontaneously as you work through the other 8 limbs. 


Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what all is behind the practice of yoga—and what’s behind the name of Yoga8! We hope you come join us on our journey through the 8 limbs.


See you at the studio.

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Pssst!  Yoga8 Teacher Training Isn’t Just for Yoga Teachers......

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Pssst! Yoga8 Teacher Training Isn’t Just for Yoga Teachers......

Ever feel as though you’re sort of “winging it” a little bit on the mat, wanting more confidence and intention in your practice? Maybe you enjoy the workout, but all the sutras and bandhas and chakras make about as much sense as Matthew McConaughey in those Lincoln car commercials. Perhaps you suspect yoga could give you something more—you’re just not sure how to access it. 

The 200-hour Transform Program offered at Yoga8 was created not only for instructors, but the every-yogi who is ready to expand, inform and deepen his or her yoga journey—on and off the mat. 

Our next yoga teacher training program begins January 2018!  So, if you’re even the least bit curious, join one of our FREE info sessions on November 25 at 2 p.m. or December 9 at 2 p.m. Please RSVP to attend at yogaeight.net/teacher-training. In the meantime, check out what these 200-hour Transform graduates had to say:

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Michelle Williams

Part-time Finance and Operations Assistant,

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Certified Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor

200 HR Certified Yoga Instructor

Yoga8: How long have you been practicing yoga? 

Michelle Williams: I'd dabbled in yoga here and there over the years but my real journey started at Yoga8 July 2015. I started taking yoga classes and realized how much better I felt afterwards. I loved the sense of not only strengthening my muscles but gaining flexibility in a once overly tight body. My mind was more relaxed as well. #winning 

Y8: Why did you decide to join the 200-hour teacher training class at Yoga8? 

MW: A discussion with Kim Damm led me to pursue my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I've taught various group fitness exercise classes for a couple of decades. I knew that as I aged I needed something for myself that would help me increase my flexibility. And what I discovered was several of my students/clients weren't doing anything to work on their flexibility training. As a trainer I wanted to be able to provide that missing link for others in hopes that they would benefit greatly like I did. 

Y8: What sorts of topics did the teacher training cover? What, if anything, surprised you?

MW: We covered anatomy, yoga postures, eight limbs of yoga, pranayama, bandhas, chakras, teaching methods, meditation, ayurveda, nutrition, teaching for special populations, yoga philosophy, ethics, class formatting—and how to deal with life! 

One thing that truly amazed me was seeing my progress and feeling myself surrender into a more relaxed state. I was easing into poses that started to feel really good. That is amazing to me considering the length of my legs assumes two-thirds of my body. 

Y8: Are you now or do you plan to begin teaching yoga?

MW: I don't teach any full-blown yoga classes yet but I’ve subbed yoga at the YMCA of Central Texas, taught a fusion class that incorporates some elements of yoga, taught a few mini yoga classes at CG [Camp Gladiator], provide personal yoga training for a client. Future goals: Bringing yoga to whomever is willing to receive it and teaching at Yoga8.

Y8: How has this experience affected your own yoga journey?

MW: I'm thoroughly enjoying it! What's life without Down Dog or Child's Pose? Stressed more than likely! My mind, body and spirit have learned to be in harmony. Oh my, that's a great feeling. Things that use to rattle me don't bother me as much. I've learned to breathe and to take each day for what it brings. I've learned to honor my body and be ok with where I'm currently at. Completing the 200-hour teacher training is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I'm privileged to be surrounded by a wonderful cast of characters at Yoga8. I encourage others to consider the training. You'll learn a lot and will probably make discoveries about yourself along the way.  

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Roxanne Glaser

Director, Marketing & Learning at i2i Technologies

200 HR Certified Yoga Instructor

Yoga8: What was your motivation for joining the 200-hour teacher training class?

Roxanne Glaser: My husband passed away in September of 2015 and I began practicing yoga in November 2015. Yoga was the only healthy relief from grief that I could find. I decided to enroll in the teacher training class to deepen my practice. At the time, I really wanted to improve my asana practice. I did not intend to teach. I simply wanted to be able to get into the poses quicker and smoother.

 

Y8: What did you gain through teacher training that you weren’t expecting?

RG: What surprised me the most was how my body began to heal from the intense grief. My sister had passed away eight months after my husband, so when I began teacher training, I was early in my grief journey and experiencing significant physical pain. Eventually, my knees and hips began to heal and become more open. I was surprised at how much my focus shifted from being attached to outcomes to focusing on the journey and being present wherever I was—physically and mentally. I was surprised at how much more to yoga there is than the physical practice.

Y8: How would you describe the instruction?

RG: Jessica was so incredibly knowledgeable. Beginning with the second weekend, we—the students—were teaching one another. The feedback and confidence that we built through that practice-teaching was amazing. Jessica is so in tune with her students that she provides exactly what we need to continue to move forward in our skills and confidence as instructors and practitioners of yoga. Love her so much!

Y8: Are you now or do you plan to begin teaching yoga?

RG: I never planned to teach, but during teacher training, I discovered restorative yoga and that truly accelerated my physical healing so I am delighted to be able to teach a Healing Class on Wednesdays at Yoga8. Giving back and creating a healing environment for others brings me such joy. I am also working on “The Absolute Beginners Yoga Workshop,” probably for January 2018, to help people new to yoga learn the language and basic poses so they can be confident and comfortable in yoga class. 

Y8: How has teacher training affected your own yoga journey—on and off the mat?

RG: As I mentioned, my body healed physically and now I am confident in class. My body doesn't flow like, say, Kim’s, and that is okay. I trust that my journey is my own and I don't compare it to others’ any more. The biggest shifts for me have been in my mental capacity to accept what is now, versus thinking that whatever is happening will last forever. I am not as attached to thoughts, things or outcomes. 

I have also discovered that my passion and talent is working with newcomers to yoga. I love helping them learn how to make their practice their own and be comfortable adapting poses to meet the needs of their body—not that of their neighbor's. Seeing the looks on my students' faces at the end of a healing class makes my day! 

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What the Heck Are We Doing?

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What the Heck Are We Doing?

I am strolling through the local grocery store after gorging myself with a bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (which I do not recommend by the way) and I run into a friend who I have not seen in quite a few years. Life has changed a ton for both of us. We both have made significant changes to our priorities and life choices but when I instantly see her I revert back to my old self. Has that ever happened to you? I immediately start nitpicking myself apart in my mind. I was thinking she probably can see this huge bulge in my belly from the Reeses I just demolished, my eyebrows are out of control and need to be weed wacked, I have algae stuck in my teeth from swimming in the lake and I am using this new fish perfume. My mind is so focused on everything that is wrong with me that I am halfway listening to her amazing journey she is on. I could have used her story to inspire others or for self-improvement but instead I become very un-attentive and unfocused. I leave our conversation very discouraged and upset with myself and go eat another bag of Reeses. Ok, just kidding about the bag of Reeses but sometime it is easy to depend on food to find some comfort but not this time. Instead, I jump in the car and start a yoga practice.  

Yes, yoga in my car. Warrior I was a little difficult but the rest was fairly efficient. Ok, just kidding again. I practiced yoga and did zero yoga poses (asanas). Did you know you can do yoga and not hold one pose? I never understood why anyone would ever want to do that because the physical practice was the only reason why I started practicing yoga. But my practice has been developing and growing and I thought I had a grasp on it until that day. I fell out of my practice. When you become more attentive you practice yoga. I clearly was un-attentive, rude, and selfish. Yoga can be practiced 24 hours a day if you can stay attentive.

Every day we have experiences and perceptions. Think about that; experiences and perceptions. I spent my time perceiving that my friend was judging my appearance but in reality I missed an opportunity for an amazing experience. One of the goals of Pantajali (the father of modern yoga), is sustainable attention, focus, clarity and meditation. Sounds pretty simple, huh? But focus is not in our control.

We are passengers in our own system. An example of this is when we get a cut on our body. How do we physically heal a wound? We do not. It heals on its own because our bodies are pretty spectacular. We can put items on our wound to help heal or keep it clean but we do nothing physically to heal our body. We are passengers in our own system. How our body functions is not in our control.

We DO have an influence but no control. Our system is composed of 6 dimensions…

1. Body

2. Breath

3. Thoughts

4. Behavior

5. Emotions

6. Spirit

When we can align these six dimensions we can find peace. Doesn’t that sound glorious? Through a consistent and committed yoga practice we can work on this alignment and balance. Yoga is a set of techniques which influences the way we feel. What is currently happening in our system is a result to the experiences we have been having. Yoga is an intentionally created experience and helps direct our attention to a designated place.

When our system is out of balance it brings us down emotionally. A result of emotional distress is crying, anger, anxiety, stress etc. When our emotions are in check we find peace. Can you see why it would be important to align the 6 dimensions of our system? Below are some examples of what could happen if a dimension is out of balance and what happens when it is in balance.

1a. Body out of balance- lack of sleep, health issues, rashes, fatigue, weight gain, food dependencies

1b. Body in balance- Everything starts working properly, limited physical ailments

2a. Breath out of balance-short, choppy and shallow breaths

2b. Breath in balance-long, calm, even and deep

3a. Thoughts out of balance-negative thoughts, distractions, self-doubt, fear,

3b. Thoughts in balance-positive, hopeful, motivated, happy, clarity   

4a. Behavior out of balance-short tempered, bad choices, self-sabotage, disrespect others, procrastinate

4b. Behavior in balance-proactive, execute plans, accomplish goals, become selfless

5a. Emotions out of balance-cry, yell, anxious, nauseous

5b. Emotions in balance-we are at peace

6a. Spirit out of balance-values become distorted and blurred, ego takes over

6b. Spirit in balance-priorities become clear, life becomes easier, peace and happiness

In our yoga practice we want to mimic functions our body does when it is balanced. This is the context of yoga. At the end of yoga we should be calm, peaceful, hopeful and our mind attentive. 

 

Breath is our barometer to check in with what our system is doing. If we are breathing quick and choppy then we are stressed, anxious, angry, or out of balance. Yoga is about breathing, attention and one focus. A breathing technique we use in our yoga class is Ujjai. Ujjai is used to make our breath tangible so you can feel it. It also creates one focus and allows for slow and controlled breathing. Ujjai allows us to become intimate with our breath and present in the moment. When we allow ourselves to be more present we tend to have more experiences rather than perceptions. I missed out on something that could have been a really great experience because I was living a life of perception. I was completely off balanced. Sometimes all we need to do is sit back and breathe, clear our minds and get back to the basics of life.

THE REST IS JUST GARBAGE

 

Namaste,

Kim Damm

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Yoga For Fitness? What the what?

Yoga for fitness? Really? Seriously? Better yet, why? 

I would have never, EVER, EVER, and I mean EVER; in a million years thought you could do yoga for a workout regimen. And nor did I want to (in the past).

Calm your mind, Huh? What does that mean? How in the hell do you calm your mind when you are a full time mother, employee, taxi driver, maid, therapist, grocery shopper, grad student, runner, booger picker, toilet scrubber, retirement planner, banker, CEO of the household, etc. And why would I want to calm my mind when I can workout with some weights, burn some major calories, destroy my body,  starve myself and blow off some steam.

By the way what is yoga? Is this where you touch your toes and take a nap? Who has time for toe touching and naps? You saw all the stuff I have to get done. I DO NOT have time for naps and my mind will not calm down because I am freaking out. The thought of taking a nap freaks me out because I have no time. Oh geez, now I am all upset. Maybe I do need yoga.

Does any of the above sound familiar? When I was first exposed to the word yoga as a "fit" adult, these are the thoughts that spewed through my head. Fitness has a variety of definitions and is personal to each individual. Fitness to the 'past' me, was being able to workout intensely and pushing my body to extreme limits. Pain, lots of pain. I also like muscles. Girl muscles are really fun. Fitness to me was being as lean as I could be with awesome ripped muscles. Essentially it was all about the exterior. This makes me sad to remember back on those days. I had a six pack! Do you care? Do you know how many other people cared? ZERO!!!!! That six pack changed the world how? Made me a better person, how? Lets talk about my ego for one second. I was having competitions with people who had no idea they were competing with me. Weird, I know! I hate that person. I am glad I buried her. It was not to long ago either. I am not talking about my youth. This was only 3 years ago.

Three years ago I accidentally drank the yoga Kool-Aid. I would have never done this on purpose but a friend of mine wanted me to train her and she would only do yoga. Are you kidding me? BAHHHAAHAHAHAHA! I DO NOT DO YOGA! But her plea for help was so sincere and inspiring. I knew I had to accommodate her because she was sick. I made it clear at the time, I was not yoga certified, nor do I know anything about yoga. I spent some time researching and educating myself on yoga to see if I could help. It was just as boring as I thought it would be in the beginning. I threw some sequences together and three days a week we would meet in her living room going through the poses. She was pretty entertaining though and we laughed a ton. I would do the poses with her and I could feel my muscles working so that was pretty cool too. But it wasn't until I started to see her getting stronger, healthier, more self-confident and happier did I realize that yoga is the "real deal". At the same time I thought, it was good for her but yoga would never work for me. I like to sweat and act like a crazy woman in the gym. Or could it work for me?

This is when my life had completely changed. After learning about proper alignment, form, technique, and the anatomy I was blessed with a platform to develop a yoga style that works for personalities like mine. Anytime Fitness allowed me to lead yoga classes at their fitness center for 2+ years. The next two years I ditched the weights and worked on my yoga practice. I developed a hot yoga class that was intense, rewarding and fun. I became leaner, more toned, stronger and in the best shape of my life. Weird I know, you probably do not believe it. I was a naysayer too but you just need to try it. The yoga was a hardcore workout but what happened next really freaked me out. I found value in life and I was able to sort through all the garbage and identify what is import. I was able to build my relationship with Jesus and ask for forgiveness of my sins and forgive myself. I was able to let go of all the material items, ego and all the junk that just does not matter. I am now able to love everyone unconditionally and have become passionate about introducing as many people to the life changing practice of yoga. I opened my ears during my yoga practice and listened to my Heavenly Father and felt him wrap his arms around me with the truest form of love. I just want to spread his love and encourage you to open your ears too. He loves you so much. That is what is most important.

Yoga for fitness? Yes. There is no better fitness than a total body fitness that includes your mind, body and soul.  

Namaste,
Kim Damm

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Let Go of Your Fears-Life is to Short

When you truly let go of all your fears and put all your faith in God, life becomes euphoric! After losing two dear friends last year I committed to living life to the fullest.  2015 is going to be insane!  We are leaving for a last minute trip to Cardinals Spring training then to Disney this week!  Yoga studio opens March 28th!  Full Ironman 140.6 mile race in Louisville October 11th. 

I will race the Ironman in honor of Ashley Gordon Farmer.  This race will require ALOT of strength, focus, faith and commitment.  This is how Ashley lived her life.  Her faith, strength, focus and commitment to God has forever changed my life.  I remember always telling her about my workouts for the day and she would say "You did what?  You are crazy girl!". Well Ashley you are coming with me this time!  I miss you so much and I can't wait.

And finally, ON THE EXACT DAY OF MY 40TH BIRTHDAY (Nov 1st) I WILL BE RUNNING THE NEW YORK MARATHON!  I will run this race in honor of Chrissy Rhea-Bauerr. She always loved to hear about my races and told me if she wasn't sick she would be right there with me!!  THIS ONE IS FOR YOU MY BEAUTIFUL FRIEND you will be with me every step of the way.  GOD has truly blessed me!  I love God, my family (especially my husband Mark Damm) for putting up with all my crazy adventures and my beautiful friends who continually push me to be the best I can be!  I would be nothing without yall.  Here is to an AMAZING 2015!!!!  Go conquer a dream this year!!!  You can do it!

Namaste,
Kim Damm

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