Finding Your Center Through Yoga and Fitness
A few gentle stretches can actually help your body feel better
The term, “find your center” seems like something a yogi would tell you at the beginning of a hot yoga class or some trendy new floor pilates virtual session while sipping a super healthy cold-pressed juice. But the term is actually one reminding us all to be in touch with the flesh and bones that house us in an effort to quiet the chaos of our minds. And yes, it’s part of yoga.
Yoga once seemed like some hippy-dippy idea meant for people who made their own granola and opted not to shave their armpits. But yoga is so much more than that. It’s a practice about finding your center, being mindful of what your body is trying to tell you, and it’s incredibly good for joints and muscle pain. While the benefits of yoga are internal, the external results aren’t bad either. The agility of one’s body can firm and tone, all while bringing peace and calm to your overall self.
The same is true with creating your own fitness routine. And as many fitness centers closed during the pandemic and never recovered, finding ways to motivate yourself at home, can be a little easier said than done.
“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”B.K.S Iyengar
Find Your Inner Yogi
Yoga is one of the practices that dates back to the Indus Valley civilization around 3000 BCE. Beginning with what we refer to as hatha yoga, the asanas (postures) were developed by Indus-Sarasvati. While it dates back 5000 years, there is a correlation between Indian wrestling–a few yogis that weren’t quite so sympatico–and the invention of the guru.
So while there are countless books out there on its origin (and many groups debating who invented it), how we practice today is rooted in ancient ideology.
Some of the modern practices are in fact related to texts found in tantric texts. Sure, there is a sexual component to tantric yoga, but the heart of it is the mobility it gives those who practice. Yoga has been used in modern medicine to help alleviate pain associated with the lower back, arthritis, migraines, digestive issues and even leg cramps.
To find your center, here are a few yoga poses to practice at home: downward dog, upward dog, triangle pose, cobra, child pose, sun salutation and cat-cow. Each will loosen up your back, legs, shoulders, neck, waist and hips and give your gut a little movement to help move things along.
- Demand for yoga equipment grew by 154% during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Research and Markets, 2020)
- During the pandemic, yoga classes saw an increase of 25% in reservations as people joined via online classes from home. (Classpass, 2020)
- At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, yoga was one of the most popular topics on Instagram across the globe. In March 2020, Instagram posts about yoga grew by 68%, beating out topics like news and politics (46%), cooking (33%), recipes (31%), and health (28%). (HypeAuditor, 2020)
- Before the pandemic, only 9% of teachers and 40% of students practiced yoga online. During the pandemic, the numbers ballooned to 91% of students and 86% of teachers practicing and teaching online yoga, respectively. (Rawlings & Pollen, 2020)
- Post-pandemic, 60% of students indicated a preference for recorded classes while only 36% of teachers said they preferred this format. (Rawlings &Pollen, 2020)
- The global yoga market size is forecast to reach $66.2 billion by 2027 and is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 9.6% from 2021 to 2027. (AP News, 2020)
- Yoga can be considered a meditative practice that falls within the global mental wellness industry. In 2019, the global mental wellness industry was worth $120.8 billion. (Global Wellness Institute, 2020)
- The pilates and yoga sector achieved 5% growth compared to 2019 figures at 38.99 million businesses. (IBISWorld, 2020)
- There were 40.93 million pilates and yoga studio businesses in the US in 2020. (IBISWorld, 2020)
- The fourth most popular yoga and meditation app worldwide is Yoga Go: Train at Home, which has amassed 1.39 million downloads. In seventh place is Yoga Down Dog, with 82,000 downloads worldwide. (Statista, 2020)
- Yoga was ranked #14 in a list of top 20 worldwide fitness trends for 2020. This ranking is lower compared to its #7 ranking in 2019. (ACSM Health and Fitness Journal, 2019)
- The number of yoga practitioners is predicted to reach 350 million by the end of the decade. (AP News, 2020)
- 44% of Americans who do yoga attend classes two to three times a week. They prefer to do yoga in the morning (34%) versus doing it in the evening (18%). (Eventbrite, 2019)
- A study revealed that 80.7% of yoga participants were female, 51.9% have a college education, 46.9% did not smoke, and 72.1% reported having moderate alcohol consumption. (Forseth et al., 2019)
- Women account for 72% of yoga practitioners.
- 14 million people doing yoga are over the age of 50.
- About 44% of yoga practitioners practice yoga 2–3 times a week.
- A staggering 89% of US yogis practice yoga 1–5 hours a day on average.
- A vast majority of yoga practitioners (94%) do yoga for wellness-related reasons.
- 59% of US yoga practitioners believe that yoga helps them sleep better.
Put Your Health First With Fitness Expert Massy Arias
She is doing more than getting you in shape, she is working to get more young women into college.
Massy Arias is a force. A force that proves that women can take charge of their lives, their body, their health and their happiness. If you’ve ever seen her, she is one charismatic woman and recently ATOD Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing her while she spoke alongside Soledad O’Brien in support of PowHERFul, a truly life-changing organization and movement inspiring and empowering young women by giving them the tools they need to fulfill their dreams of going to college.
“When I started my fitness journey and career transition I came was challenged with many obstacles. I started offering boot camps at Central Park and there were times that a single person wouldn’t even show up. I did not let that discourage me and I continued to pursue what I love.
On the other hand, my parents were not familiar with this field and despite their efforts to try to convince me to take another path, I still followed my heart. I one day hope to influence a new generation of trainers to teach people a lifestyle instead of a quick fix to get a bikini body. I want to teach people to fully believe that being healthy really is being happy.
I face challenges on a daily basis. And one thing I truly believe in, is that obstacles and failures have taught me lessons. I have never really lost anything, either I have succeeded, or I have learned from whatever mistake I’ve come across.” — Massy Arias
PowHERful is about motivating these women to work hard and not give in to discouragement. Arias is a woman who knows who she is, what she’s capable of and what she wants to see in the future. She plans on changing lives, and if you follow her on social media, you know she already has.
Massiel “Massy” Indhira Arias is Dominican Republic-born but American-raised. She is bilingual, hard-working and willing to share all of her success and her setbacks. She has overcome tremendous obstacles, pushed her limitations and has turned her own experiences into a positive outlet the world benefits from in more ways than one.
While she may be the face of physical fitness and achievement, she is also the face of a woman that represents the embodiment all women should strive for. She is strong, smart, driven, beautiful, fearless, fierce, generous, loving, well-spoken and isn’t afraid to fail. In other words, much like O’Brien, she is a stunning portrayal of what inspiration looks like, including motherhood.
Yoga Fitness + Mindfulness Apps
We use this app on the regular. It is easy to use, worth the annual price, and the instructors are amazing. This app has a LOT of versatility.
Recently having purchased this for our home gym, we LOVE it. The full size display is so much better for form and technique, and you can even hire a personal trainer and do live sessions.
We too have become big fans of Peloton. Purchased the Bike 2.0 during the pandemic, use it all the time. Our instructor faves are Hannah Frankson, Ally Love, and Cody Rigsby.
The iFit came with the elliptical machine, and at first we didn’t use it but now it’s got a lot of options that are great on equipment (we have ProForm) but the app itself is really easy to use.
If you’re looking to be totally motivated, this is a great resource. Massy is a badass, and she is so empowering to watch. She is very honest and vulnerable when training, and it makes everything easier, and more engaging. Also check out her IG.
This app isn’t new but it still holds true as one of the best guided meditation apps.
We just discovered these videos on YouTube. There is a free 30-day video series worth doing.
Yes, turns out Spotify has an abundance of white noise and guided meditations.