Confession: I have a really hard time waking up in the morning. Each night after I put the kids to bed, it seems like my brain kicks into overdrive and before you know it, I'm in front of the computer writing, answering emails, having business meetings and paying bills instead of giving myself time to relax and recharge in preparation for the next day. Don't get me wrong, its great to get a late night "energy boost" when I've had a less-than-productive day. But honestly, feeling that extra kick from 9 pm to 12 am each night is extremely frustrating to someone who has to be up and ready for a full day in just six short hours.
Recently, waking up rested and full of energy has been impossible because my stress levels have been at an all-time high. I spend my nights working on multiple projects, planning birthday celebrations, solidifying summer plans and coping with my first bout of homesickness. So, even when I finally drift off to sleep, my mind is constantly filing through a perpetual to-do list. I wake up feeling just as tired as I was the night before with less and less motivation to take care of my daily responsibilities.
After experiencing an extreme lack of motivation in the mornings for a couple of weeks, I contacted my good friend, Sarah Iverson of fitnessaroundtheworld.net, to share her experiences with yoga, an age-old practice that is known to help promote mental clarity and give you the boost you need to start the day. Sarah is going to talk with us about how yoga has taught her the importance of inner peace and to share her favorite early morning routine that is sure to start your day off right!
Sarah wears many hats as she is a world traveling certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and yoga teacher. Her goals to improve people's lives through fitness and nutrition is just a small indicator of the lion-sized heart this babe possesses. Sarah lives as an expatriate and enjoys fitness related activities, traveling with her husband for his professional basketball career and lounging around with her adorable dog, Chumlee. In her own words, she is a person that "loves interpersonal interaction, taking full advantage of teaching everything from yoga to aqua fitness while home for the summer," and "hopes this interview will help you see the benefits of yoga in the same ways she has."
What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I started going to yoga classes when I was in college. It was a nice break from the high-intensity lifting and cardio workouts my basketball team was put through. I loved the calmness throughout the yoga studio, and how it made me feel opening my eyes after the last savasana. I wanted to be the one that shares that calmness with others. My favorite thing about teaching is the facial expressions after the class! They alone share so much more than any words can express.
In what ways is yoga therapeutic for you?
Yoga has helped me become more flexible, which is good for everyone because flexibility helps prevent injury! More importantly, yoga has taught me how to breathe again! Sounds funny, right? When I first started yoga I would catch myself holding my breath, trying to use my athleticism to conquer each asana (pose), and missing the most important part of yoga- breathing! Now, I use it to help me in all areas of my life. Can’t sleep? Try breathing! Frustrated sitting at a stop light? Try breathing!
What is your favorite pose?
My favorite pose is runners lunge. You can add an extension or rotation to it, modifying the pose however you want! Runners lunge helps release pressure from the hips and hamstrings, which helps release tension and pain in the lower back.
What are the physical and mental benefits of practicing yoga?
Some of the physical benefits range from toning muscles and increasing flexibility. Yoga also helps balance your metabolism and circulatory health! Aside from the physical benefits, one of the greatest things about yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being.
What types of yoga do you specialize in?
I teach three different types of yoga classes. Vinyasa yoga, which is for the experienced yogi, a continually flowing class that could involve inversions (headstands, etc). Ashtanga yoga, a slower paced yoga, syncing breathing and asanas together to achieve the benefits. And silver sneaker yoga, or chair yoga. This is for people 65 and older, we use the chair to help us balance, starting and finishing with a light meditation.
Sarah has so graciously provided you with a short morning yoga routine to help you achieve the mental acuity and readiness that is needed to start your days off on the right foot! All you need is a mat, some open space and a few short minutes to completely transform your morning experience!
Sarah Iverson's Morning Yoga Routine:
1. Child's pose
5-6. Thread the needle
10. Childs Pose
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about yoga and its benefits please visit Sarah's site! I hope this routine helps your brighten your mornings and brings you the mental peace needed to conquer your day!