Today, 21st June 2015 is the first official International Yoga Day!
How amazing and exciting is that??
I hope all of you did some yoga for today at least! I know there were some events held in different parts of the world to celebrate this day and even though I wish i could have been part of one of them, I'm happy still with my home practice.
As part of today, I wanted to share how yoga and BBG (Kayla Itsines's Bikini Body Guide) have worked for me and how doing them both have helped me progress much faster than before.
It’s common for me to receive comments on my Instagram photos about what workouts I do, if yoga is my only form of exercise and if follow any diet plans.
Though my account is 90% yoga, occasionally I do have posts regarding my exercise routine and the foods I eat. After all, on my Instagram profile it states “Trying to be healthier”
Firstly, I'm a huge fan of Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guide (BBG) workout plan. Secondly, I do not consider yoga to be a form of exercise for myself. So that answers the first two questions. The third, I will answer on another day!
At the end of 2014, I started Kayla Itsines’ BBG. I was already following her account on Instagram (@Kayla_Itsines) and was always blown away by her progress photos.
Since I had already been on this journey to get fitter and healthier for a year and a half and I wanted to try it all to figure out what kind of workout plans worked best for me.
Honestly, I was scared. The first few weeks looked easy but as I went through the rest of the e-book, the workouts kept getting tougher - most of the exercises were things I knew wasn't capable of yet. Still, I felt pretty good going through the workouts, knowing I was doing different things everyday made it easier because I easily get bored when doing the same workouts. Additionally, for the first time in a long time, I could see myself progressing not just inside but outside too.
But how did this work with my yoga practice?
Many times people – even myself at my point – think that yoga is just some stretching and moving slowly and it doesn’t really do much for your body. But doing BBG and yoga at the same time really worked well for me. Before I started yoga I would get so sore and so stiff the day after my workouts. It just felt terrible. It made me hate leg days especially and I honestly thought this was just part of the process! Workout, suffer, workout, suffer etc.
When I did start yoga, it made things a little better but I would alternate between workout days and yoga days which still made me incredibly sore and tired on yoga days.
After I started BBG i came up with a new routine for myself. I would start by doing about 20 to 30 minutes of yoga; most days it's sun salutations, a few backbends, forward folds and I’d get in the asanas I needed for the challenge I was doing that day. It was all pretty much touch-and-go no long holds or stretching too much. Just something to get me moving. Once I felt opened and ready, that’s when I would start BBG. Between each circuit i would do a few upward and downward dogs and forward folds. I used to always feel like my back was really tight between circuits, and doing this stopped them almost immediately.
When I finished the workout, I would end it with a lot more forward folds and backbends, hip and shoulder openers and of course foam rolling. The difference in the next day soreness was amazing. I could actually walk down stairs without tripping and it was tolerable soreness even in the later weeks of the BBG plan.
Get a Kayla Itsines foam roller + Foam Rolling Guide here.
The difference between when I was doing yoga compared to when I didn’t was pretty extreme. Besides feeling better the day after, one other thing that I really noticed was that push ups became 10 times easier. For a year I struggled with push ups, I couldn’t get off my knees and It was almost painful to try to do more than 5 in a row. I knew I lacked the arm strength but building it up was the hard part - the part i didn't like. So I stopped doing push ups for months, I hated it so much I never wanted to do it. It's a terrible attitude to have but I just wanted to give up on ever getting a push up done!
When I started BBG, of course, push ups were in the guide. And I thought, if I wanted to do this right, I had to do them. I did my push ups on my knees, but for the first time, I was able to do 10 push ups without feeling like I needed a long break after (i paused for about 10 seconds before finishing the other 5 pushups in week 1).
Now, I believe it was all the arm balance practice I had put in. Trying to do a proper chaturanga, kakasana and Astavakrasana were in my daily practice when BBG started and I think that's what I have to thank for this progress.
It was such an extreme feeling, like for the first time I managed something I thought was impossible. It took me about another 4-5 weeks to work up the strength to do a push up on my toes. Sure, it was tough - it still is - but I was doing it! Something that previously I couldn't do at all after a whole year of practice I managed in just weeks!
I know this might not seem like a lot to certain people but doing yoga really helped me build the strength I needed for push-ups, ab exercises and the balance for lunges – I used to need to hold on to a wall or chair, it just never worked haha! And doing BBG had it's own benefits in my yoga practice as well. Just as arm balances helped me get push ups done, the work in BBG helped me progress with arm balances and inversions much faster. As I said before, I lacked arm strength but as the weeks went by with BBG, I keep seeing how fast I was improving. Each time i practiced i felt stronger, more stable. Like holding my weight up in arm balances wasn't a problem anymore, i just needed balance now!
Just like in this photo, I'm holding myself just above the ground with only my chin barely touching the floor and my chest hovering right above the ground. With proper balance and more core strength I'll get away from the couch but this is already more than amazing progress for me.
Considering it all, I like to think I have the perfect fit for myself. Keep in mind It might not work for your body, all our bodies work differently and our progress will look and feel different as well, you should figure out how your body works, what makes you feel good and what helps you progress better.
I feel great doing it all this way and I love how BBG and yoga have benefitted each other. I've only gotten better, stronger and happier with myself.
And for those girls who have always asked me on Instagram, I would definitely recommend doing BBG if you're interested. It's worked amazingly for me and so many other girls around the world!
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