Maybe you’re an avid athlete, yogi, or gym enthusiast, or perhaps you're taking on a new exercise regimen. Whatever the case, most of us are familiar with the feelings of happiness and the profound sense of peace that comes with moving, breathing, and getting our heart rates up. But in order to make your workouts work for you, it's important to support our exercise routines with adequate recovery.
And guess what? Even with all that stretching, yogis need to incorporate recovery, too. For yogis, recovery goes way beyond the physical—yogis have an intention and set out to integrate the mind, body, and spirit. Here's what you need to know:
1. Stay hydrated.
We are 80 percent water, so we must maintain our ratio, especially if we want to deepen our yoga practice. I eat juicy, watery fruits before I practice or even bring a warming herbal tea made from nettles or cinnamon to support kidney function. I also like to grab fresh-squeezed alkalizing juices made from cucumber, celery, and lemon to nourish my cells. One word of caution: Refrain from ingesting right before and during your time on the mat—it's hard to move into all those different poses when you have liquid sloshing around in your stomach. But afterward, sip away.
2. Embrace scent.
After an intense inner and outer workout, we need to know how to adjust back into our day. Often, the first thought is food, but what about considering a way to switch gears and wind down through other stimuli?
I find frankincense and myrrh to be the perfect grounding blend to my sometimes revved-up adrenals and kidneys, massaging my fists up and down over my back and lower ribs. Lavender oil is another way to transition into a more relaxed state if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or too revved-up. Just place a few drops on your hands, breathe in a few times, and then apply to your chest and wrists for lasting aroma and immune support.
3. Practice resting postures.
Whether your workout includes time on the mat or not, recouping with therapeutic yoga poses is a great way to rejuvenate. The time we spend breathing honestly into what really is, is the time we spend allowing necessary adjustments and alignments to occur. Consider forward bends with a straight back and legs, side stretches or twists for elongation, neck releases, legs up the wall, or the almighty savasana to get out of your way and unfold into your potential.
4. Refuel with nature.
Just as we are becoming more mindful of what we're doing on the mat or during our workout, we also need to be conscious of how we give back to our body temples. Consider combining the modalities or ingesting with sight, smell, sound, feel, and taste, and perhaps have a full-spectrum meal in a park or simply on a bench to replenish your body on every level.
Ultimately, integrating with nature is the foundation for cultivating more symmetry and beauty. Let’s learn from the master Mother Nature and soak in the vibrancy of blooming flowers and trees while they attract the birds and bees.
Reflecting and integrating our comprehension and growth is key to success. How are you feeling; what did you accomplish or not accomplish? Where did you give up and sell out, and where did you exceed your expectations? Where did you thrive, and where were you deficient? How is your energy now, and what did you actually bring to your workout (and inner work) to begin with? Did you have a tough time doing anything, or were you distracted?
Perhaps it was effortless and full of personal wins. Remember the factors leading up to this, such as what you ate, how much you slept, and your mental state. Create a workout regimen or practice that should be used as a tool for self-observation. Journaling as part of your practice is crucial to strengthening it.
6. Practice positive affirmations.
"Mind over matter" is a familiar principle to anyone who studies self-improvement, physics, the science of change, or the law of attraction. We create our reality based on thought and frequency. If we are thinking in a negative way and speaking it out loud, this is what we are creating for ourselves. It is essential to pay attention to our thoughts and also what we speak and even write.
I’m improving, I’m opening, I’m strengthening, I’m learning, I’m working on it. I am transforming, I am beautifying. I got this, I showed up, I did it. These are all great things to think and say out loud. Positive messages to your brain help reduce stress, support concentration, improve mental clarity and alertness, and most importantly, create a reality.
We all have certain tracks that get us hyped, grooving, and in the mood for a workout. But did you know that certain music can throw your vibe off as well? For close to a century, modern music has consensually been tuned to A at 440 Hz instead of the natural frequency of 432 Hz, misaligning us into discordance with nature.
So find music that makes you feel harmonious and in tune with your optimal frequency. Sound has the potential to hype you up or mellow you out. Sound therapy can create balance in our brains and overall homeostasis in the body, so turn up the music and turn down the distractions and chaos.
8. Eat right.
Yes, food has energy too, so know where the food you're consuming is coming from. Is it latent with fear, cancer, death, and anger, or is it pulsating with beauty, vibrancy, life force, and wellness? Do you need to eat it all at once, or can you choose one at a time? In yoga, we choose hip openers one day, backbends and inversions another.
My advice: Combine your most dense food source with vegetables or leafy greens to optimize enzyme intake, digestion, and nutrient assimilation, and pay attention to which colors you're digesting. Which phytonutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins are you taking in? Eat the rainbow and count colors, not calories, and take in the full spectrum of flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy. Eat beauty, and eat it in a wonderful, supportive setting.
Want more recovery tips? Here's what your active recovery routine should look like if you love HIIT.
Yoga is incredible for keeping your body & mind healthy. Ready to learn about how the power of food can also create a sound body & mind? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.