Today’s interview is about Yoga, something I’ve begun exploring more lately. I hope that you will enjoy it and learn how practicing yoga may help you lose weight faster.
Question: My guest today is Charry Morris, a former professional athlete and Yoga instructor for the US Ski Team athletes. She is also the author of the Yoga Weight Loss System. We’re going to be talking about how Yoga may help you to lose weight, build lean muscle, and improve your body and health.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Charry. Congratulations on the release of your new program.
CM (stands for Charry Morris): Thank you for having me as a guest!
Question: You’ve had quite an intriguing career in sports and fitness. Can you give us a brief rundown of your experience both as an athlete and as a coach and instructor?
CM: As an athlete, I noticed a difference between my physical abilities as I aged and my psychological abilities. I noticed how the body and the mind correlated and could equate to a peak performance when both were trained properly. I also noticed that at a certain level of competition everyone has a certain amount of innate coordination and athleticism, so it is the training and the mentality while training that can truly make the difference.
As a coach and instructor, I noticed that developing training sessions which simulated the competitive cauldron of the game environment was a major key to developing a successful outcome with the team or the individual. I noticed that the training environment included each athlete’s psyche as well as his/her body and the drills which developed the physical skills and ability to perform the tasks necessary to excel.
Question: Do you work with just athletes these days or with regular folks too?
CM: I work primarily with regular, working day individuals who are interested in feeling better, living with less aches and pains, and becoming more active.
Question: Yoga is perceived as a low-intensity physical activity and so it’s assumed that it won’t be effective for weight loss. Is this a wrong assumption? Can Yoga, by itself, really help people lose weight?
CM: This is a very important question. Yoga is a 5000 year old science. Today, we have morphed yoga into whatever fits our needs, which is what makes the science behind yoga so fascinating. You can literally use yoga as a therapeutic device to heal low back pain, headaches, and chronic immune system issues to a tool for increasing muscle tone and reducing body fat. You can use yoga to calm your mind and relax, or heat the body and detoxify. In other words, yoga can do what you need it to do for you until you realize that what you are really doing is coming back to your own most natural state of being. This is the state of being where all of your organs are functioning optimally, your mind is clear, and you are able to meet the world with a transparent lens. Yoga is as transformative a vehicle as any out there for losing weight.
Question: The Yoga Weight Loss System is based on Hatha Yoga. What is Hatha Yoga and why is it a good method to lose weight with?
CM: Hatha is a sanskrit term which translates to Ha: Sun and Tha: Moon. Together, Hatha means uniting the sun and moon. It is a strain of yoga that is designed specifically to purify the body through heat and cooling. If you have ever gone from a steam room to an ice bath and back a few times, you would immediately know the benefits that alternately heating and cooling the skin and the organs has. This is sort of how Hatha yoga works. You build this intense internal fire which stokes your digestive engine and detoxifies the body and then you equally cool the body with postures that bring your body and mind into a balanced and relaxed state. It is a great system because it has been tested and proven effective for body and mind transformation for over 5000 years!
Question: Can I do other forms of exercise along with the Yoga Weight Loss System?
Absolutely. I found while training that lifting weights was more effective following my yoga session because my body was in better alignment. I found that I could do cardio or plyometrics on either end to equally more effective results. I found that sprints followed by yoga was exactly what my body needed. The nice thing about the Yoga Weight Loss System is that it is effective as a stand alone work out, a “warm up”, or a “cool down”. It just plain makes you feel better and lighter in whatever way you choose to use it.
Question: Is your program good for beginners? Can it be used by people who haven’t trained for years, or those suffering from sports-injuries?
CM: The program is absolutely perfect for beginners. There are no radical moves. It is totally accessible and user friendly. It is also perfect for those individuals who haven’t trained for a while. As to those suffering sports-injuries, it is always on an individual basis. If it is a hamstring tear, for example, there are definitely pieces and poses you need to avoid, but there are definitely pieces and poses that you can utilize to rehab, as well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding your injury and the program. Remember that yoga can also be a therapeutic tool.
Question: How does Yoga help me achieve better and faster results from cardio and weight lifting workouts?
CM: Yoga trains the cardiovascular system. In fact, the main component of yoga is the breath work. You learn how to relax your diaphragm, create strength and flexibility in your intercostal muscles, and increase lung capacity. So, with all of that work, you will notice that your cardio workouts become easier.
As to the weight lifting workouts, yoga trains the smaller, deeper core and spinal muscles. It also works on your posture and alignment. So, your body works more efficiently and safely with weights and you can target muscle groups more effectively because you are more aligned.
I forgot to mention how yoga also increases body awareness. So, you begin to notice, whether you are running or lifting, what muscles you are engaging and how to let go of muscle tension where it may not be needed. This leads to less injuries and more progress.
Question: What are some of the other health benefits people may enjoy by doing Yoga?
CM: They might feel more rested, more alert, and more energized. Their skin will be clearer. They might notice better balance, which, as we age is very important. The memory is strengthened. In fact, there are studies which have shown yoga to be as effective in off-setting Alzheimer’s as doing a cross-word puzzle. There are so many “side” benefits to yoga that I can’t even mention them all here!
Question: What kind of equipment do you need to follow the Yoga Weight Loss System and how much time a week does it require?
CM: You really don’t need any equipment for the Yoga Weight Loss System. If you have a yoga mat, that is nice. If you have yoga blocks or a yoga strap, that is also nice, but nothing but you and your body are necessary to perform the exercises in the program.
3 hours a week would be optimal, 20 minutes a day would be great, 5 minutes a day would be the bare minimum while still giving you some of the benefits.
Question: Until I read your program I thought that Yoga was mainly good for flexibility and relaxation. You teach that it can also have major psychological benefits. What are those benefits and how do they help you lose weight?
CM: The psychological benefits are actually the hidden gem of this program and yoga in general. These poses are literally, mind bending poses. They actually rewire your brain to become more insightful and clear. We are a society which functions primarily from the frontal brain. Yoga taps into the hidden power of the reptilian brain at the back of the skull. Once this happens, our thoughts slow down, our intuition grows and we become more relaxed with who we truly are. We feel more centered, alert, and in charge of our life. We have more will power, better concentration and more steadiness in our lives. Rather than reacting to everything, we are steady and sure of our actions. We choose not to eat because we are upset, bored, or lonely. We choose to drink water instead of soda because that is what our body craves and we are able to now listen to our body in a meaningful way. We are able to engage in this life, fully.
Question: I know that you have worked with many people. Can you share a transformation or success story of one your clients?
CM: I have a client who is in her 20s. She has a dance background. Her weight has fluctuated a lot. She was nervous and shy. She was slightly embarrassed by her body. She was slightly anxious in her own skin. She always seemed to be apologizing for something. She couldn’t “do” every pose in the class without needing to rest. Within a few weeks, she was standing taller, doing more of the class, breathing better. She told me that she was less angry at work. Within a few months, she was doing all the poses in the class, looking me in the eye, and not apologizing. By the end of the year, she had lost 15 pounds, could do a handstand at the wall, and told me she was able to work with her co-workers more evenly and openly. She started dating. She said she felt more like “herself” again.
To me, if you start to feel more like “yourself”, you will have found the key to success. I truly think that yoga can be the key for anyone and any body. I truly believe that the Yoga Weight Loss System can transform your life too!
== end of interview ==
I hope you guys learned as much from this interview as I have. For more about Charry and her work read her story here: Charry Morris Bio. I will certainly be looking into making yoga a more common part of my workout routine.