Most of us think of yoga just as a kind of exercise, albeit one where you get to wear those cute yoga pants. Gossip magazines are always featuring pics of celebrities walking around LA with a yoga mat under their arm. It’s fashionable. It’s cool.
But that’s just scratching the surface of what yoga is all about.
Our guest for today is a yoga instructor who wants to raise awareness about how yoga can change your life, not just your figure.
Amber DeBarge is the owner of Come As You Are Yoga, based in San Diego, California.
She wants everyone to realize that there’s a style of yoga for them. Whether you’re old or young, active or bedridden, stiff or flexible, you can experience the amazing benefits of yoga.
What You’ll Learn
“When you have something that is that amazing and that life-changing for yourself, you can’t keep it to yourself.”
When Amber Debarge took what she thought was just a “stretch class,” she was amazed to discover that yoga was so much more than a series of poses. It was a whole life philosophy.
After experiencing its benefits for herself, she was hooked. She left the corporate world to become a yoga instructor and never looked back.
Many people dismiss yoga as just another way to exercise, but the physical movement is just one small part of it. When you add the breathing and mental focus, Amber says, “that’s the combination that can be truly transformational.”
Although people often come to a yoga class with specific goals, yoga works on the whole body.
As you learn to breathe more deeply, your nervous system begins to relax, which helps you feel calmer and become less reactive. Group classes help you feel more connected to others. As you build strength and flexibility, you may find stubborn issues like muscle pain, stiffness, back pain, weight loss, and fatigue improving.
Surprisingly, yoga can even improve your relationships.
To have a good relationship, we need “patience, the ability to listen, [and] the ability to stop and recognize how our relationships are even working,” Amber says. “When we are physically comfortable and mentally still … our relationships have no choice but to improve.”
Not to mention the sexiness boost yoga gives you!
“What is sexiness? Someone who’s confident. Someone who’s comfortable in their body. Who smiles and is relaxed. That’s sexy, right? Well,” Amber continues, “if you’re practicing yoga on a regular basis, you’re going to find that you’re more comfortable in your physical body, that you have an ease about you, that you’re calmer.”
If you think that you can’t practice yoga because of your health, your age, or your lack of fitness, think again.
“No matter what age you are, it’s valuable,” Amber says. Say you’ve retired, and you’ve found that your muscles are stiff and rigid. That’s not part of the normal aging process; it’s a result of your habits and posture. And those things can be changed.
If you lost it, you can get it back through a regular practice of yoga.”
Amber practices in classes where she’s the youngest in the room by 20 or 30 years. Those women show her up with their strength and flexibility.
Yoga is like the fountain of youth – honestly!”
(For proof, check out our Brilliant Babe Täo Porchon-Lynch!)
Even if you can’t get out of bed, you can work with your breath. “Just the breath and the way people use their breath in yoga can change your blood pressure. It can change your heart rate and your circulation [and] body temperature,” Amber explains.
Which kind of yoga might be right for you?
“A lot of yoga classes are named for how quickly they’ll be moving,” Amber explains.
Vinyassa is a faster style. It means “to join one movement and one breath.” You’re “moving swiftly enough that your exhale will have one movement and your inhale will have the next movement.”
Hatha is a slower style which takes 3 or 4 breaths per movement. It’s great for learning the poses.
Restorative is a very slow-moving yoga, where you rest 5 to 7 minutes in each pose. It’s excellent both for people working through injuries and for those “who lift weights or already have a very vigorous exercise practice,” because of the amount of concentration it requires.
Finally, there are a number of more specialty styles such as Kundalini, which is fast-paced and breath centered, and Bikram, also known as “hot yoga.”
“My favorite thing about yoga is that if you can find the flexibility on your mat, you will find the flexibility in the rest of your life,” Amber concludes. So don’t wait to start your yoga practice. If you’re in the San Diego area, check out Come As You Are yoga and meet Amber for yourself.
Jump to Topics of Interest
02:30 Amber’s journey from the corporate world to yoga instructor
03:55 Yoga is more than a “stretch class” – it’s a life philosophy
04:49 Yoga’s role in wellness
06:20 The group component of yoga
07:48 How yoga improves relationships
09:48 Different types of yoga: Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative, Kundalini
12:07 Bikram yoga
13:42 What yoga can do for us the older we get
15:30 Yoga as sexiness
About Amber DeBarge
Amber is the owner of Come As You Are Yoga, based in San Diego, California. Her mission is to provide the tools and opportunities for people to gain physical comfort and flexibility so that they will have the focus and energy to seek, find and maintain sustainable joy and fulfill their life’s purpose.