Posted by Joe Wicks in Wellbeing
Shona Vertue is an amazing yoga teacher, personal trainer and creator of the Vertue Method - a practice that combines weight training, HIIT, meditation and Yoga to develop strength and flexibility. We recently made some beginner Yoga videos for my YouTube channel and in this blog Shona explains why Yoga is the perfect accompaniment to your HIIT training.
Tell me about your fitness journey up to now?
My journey into fitness began at the age of 9 when I started training as an Elite Gymnast in Sydney clocking in 20 hours a week of hardcore skill and agility training. I also practiced ballet and classical dance alongside the gymnastics. As enjoyable as it was for the first few years, the two forms of movement and constant performance pressure, became draining and I disconnected from the joy of it all. After ten years of training and dancing the time had come and so I quit. Since then I have become a qualified yoga teacher and personal trainer and combined my experience in these different fields, to create the Vertue Method - a practice that involves developing strength, endurance and flexibility through weight training, HIIT, meditation and Yoga.
When did yoga become a part of your life?
I began yoga when I finished high school. It was recommended to me as a way to heal and prevent me from developing further injuries that I had sustained as a gymnast and dancer. To be honest, it was love at first sun salute and I was hooked after the first class. I felt the mental and physical benefits almost immediately and that was motivation enough for me to keep going.
What’s the biggest misconception that you hear about yoga?
Yoga is relaxing. So this is a bit of a tricky one because it's not a complete myth but it is definitely misleading. Yoga is eventually relaxing - much more than any other exercise. Yet when you first start out it's absolutely NOT relaxing, in any way. From the deep breathing to the weird and intense stretching 'asanas' (poses) - yoga is one of the most awkwardly difficult and confronting forms of exercise one will ever do. However the benefits of becoming more flexible and calm far outweigh the initial awkwardness that you will experience when you first start practicing.
What are the key benefits of regular yoga practice?
Yoga has a huge range of benefits from reducing injury potential to improving circulation and movement, increased concentration and brain function - but my absolute favourite benefit and what I believe to be the reason that people come back for more, is that you just feel so much better in your body after yoga - more energised, rejuvenated and at the same time calm and serene.
You also love HIIT workouts, how does yoga fit in with your training?
I do love HIIT - however we know that it's incredibly taxing on the nervous system. Yoga is the perfect accompaniment to HIIT because it helps to calm the nervous system, which can boost recovery from the HIIT workouts. The nervous system is very much involved in how quickly (or slowly) you will achieve results from fat loss to muscle gain, it's important to take care of it.
What’s your advice for total beginners?
Start slow and give it time. As I mentioned earlier, yoga isn't 'relaxing' when you start, but it does get better and easier. The key is to forget the postures and simply focus on the breath instruction. This is because the way in which you're breathing is so closely linked to the state of your nervous system. Breathing slowly helps to calm the mind and therefore relax the body so that you can get into the postures more easily. If you prioritise the way your breathing (which should be slow in most cases) you'll be surprised at how fast your body will pick up the postures. Don't rush, just breathe (deep).
Can I really feel the benefits of just 10 minutes of Yoga?
Absolutely. When it comes to yoga, it's more important for your body to get a little every day, rather than a big long session once per month. If you were to spend 10 minutes on a few yoga postures every day you would accumulate so much more flexibility over time.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you don’t feel like training?
If it's sunny, I take my training outdoors, I'm Aussie so the sun never fails to lift my spirits. If it's raining or cold I will get on my mat and do some yoga - it may not be an intense HIIT session, but at least I know I have done something productive for my body and mind. The funny thing is that as soon as I start practicing a bit of yoga, my energy lifts and I feel like busting out a sweat session. Sometimes we just need to start moving to boost our mood for training.
For more workouts and Yoga videos subscribe to Shona's new YouTube channel here: Shona Vertue on YouTube.
About Joe Wicks
Joe Wicks is the online nutrition coach inspiring people all over the world to cook with his #Leanin15 video meals on Instagram. He is also transforming the lives of thousands of people with his tailored online nutrition plan, The 90 Day Shift, Shape & Sustain plan.
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