Fighting Workout Burnout with Yoga
I will admit it; I was feeling Zumba burnout. I love shimmying and booty-shaking my way through a workout. I lose myself in the music and movement and forget that I’m there to burn calories, strengthen my heart, and other healthy junk. But lately my body has felt achy and tired much more than it used to.
I’m sure we’ve all heard it. Doing the same workout for too long creates a negative impact. The body thrives on constant change and new challenges, bla bla bla. After too much workout repetition, the body actually stops improving and burnout can eventually lead to injuries. Maybe 3+ Zumba classes a week for two years is too long? So I decided to take a little break. I subbed out my classes for two weeks so I could do whatever the hell I wanted cross train.
I have flirted with yoga for almost six years. I took a class here and there. I read about how wonderful it is for body and mind. I realized that yoga is “good for you.” Like vegetables, it became one of those things that is so “good for you” that I didn’t want to do it.
I finally gave yoga a serious try a month ago, because I needed a stress reliever. I battle anxiety, anger and depression. I have trouble sleeping through the night because I’m too busy worrying that the world will spontaneously explode. I’m usually looking for something to help, as long as it’s easy not too crazy. I think the universe started ganging up on me, because all of a sudden I was coming in contact with article after article about how amazing and life-changing a steady yoga practice can be. So yoga can cure all that ails my body and mind? Ok, I’ll try it out. No pressure.
I found a 20 minute youtube video by Colleen Saidman and did it before bed. I crawled between the sheets like a relaxed Jell-O person and slept through the entire night. Maybe there is something to this magical yoga thing.
I decided to use my break from Zumba to try out some live yoga classes. I tried a yin/restorative yoga class, which is as opposite from Zumba as you can get. The focus was on breathing and wondering what the hell we were doing relaxing into the easy postures. During the entire class, I wondered what the point was, but as I walked out of the studio, I realized how relaxed and chill I felt. I need some breathing and chill practice in my life. I also tried out a basic yoga class and a couple Vinyasa Flow classes. Tell you what, those flow classes kicked my ass!
Luckily my break from Zumba allowed me to come back refreshed and ready to dance again. My joints feel better and my legs have mostly stopped their constant aching.
Now, two weeks after going back, I have been trying to do a 20-minute yoga video before bed at least sometimes each night. In usual half-ass fashion, I actually do it three or four nights a week. So far, the biggest benefits I am seeing is an increase in flexibility. My forward bends are deeper than they have ever been in my life, even when I was dancing and stretching 5 days a week. Also, I catch myself deep breathing when I feel tense. Strangely, it’s not a conscious effort. More like something I notice my body is doing after it happens. To get really yoga and weird, my deep breaths have become deeper, which sounds really strange. Before I started practicing yoga on a sort of regular basis, my ribs and much of my body felt bound up and tight. Like there was an inflexible rope around my ribcage. Over time, that tightness has faded away and my breath flows easier.
I wouldn’t say that yoga has cured all my problems, but it helps me feel slightly less stressed and tense. Plus, I sleep through the night now, and anyone who knows me realizes how much I adore my sleep. Plus, knowing what savasana means makes me feel all zen and superior and shit.
Have you ever had workout burnout? What are your thoughts on yoga? Think I’ll ever get myself together enough to post on a regular basis again?