Yoga\’s for guys as well as gals

Ellissa Marie Redden

Elissa Marie Redden, a licensed massage therapist, had one goal in mind when she began her Yoga practice at YAM a few months ago – she hopes to drop the 40 pounds she gained while not practicing Yoga for the past year and a half.

“I adopted unhealthy eating habits. I ate for comfort, to relieve stress. It’s an easy cycle to fall into being a single Mom. Life gets awfully heavy at times for us all and we deal in our own ways,” says Elissa, 30, herself a certified yoga instructor. “When I reached 185 pounds, my body was hurting and my self-esteem was not great.”

After enrolling in YAM’s 10-class “Hot 26” series, Elissa is well on her way to reaching her goal.  She’s already lost close to 20 pounds, and claims the 105-degree hot room and its detoxifying benefits have helped her drop the weight.

“After the first 10 classes, I lost 10 pounds. I was hooked, I felt alive, reconnected to myself and inspired to fall in love with myself again,” says Elissa, who has experienced all kinds of Yoga. “This class, in particular, has helped me lose weight above any other.”

No doubt about it – a sustained yoga practice can influence weight loss. Sure, a more high-intensity workout, like Hot 26 classes, may burn more calories than other styles, but they all will help tone and strengthen the body, boost metabolism and help you foster an inward focus to tune into your body. Yoga can help you recognize how and why you aren’t taking better care of yourself.

 Unlike the higher intensity Yoga styles, even a gentle and restorative Yoga can spark weight loss because it helps kick on the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates breathing, digestion and hormones.

 “Yoga is not just for stretching or for weight loss,” Elissa says. “There are so many vast benefits of having a Yoga practice. It gives you mental clarity, boosts your immune system, helps regulate your sleep patterns and helps you deal with stressful situations in life with more ease.”

In her spare time, Elissa enjoys hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway, camping with her son and soaking up the talent of local musicians.

But she also hopes to inspire others with her love for Yoga.

“I’m amazed by the potential of the human body,” Elissa says. “The connection between the emotional, spiritual and physical body has always fascinated me. I look forward to seeing the same smiling faces in class and welcome all new members to become part of a great community at YAM.”