We eat right and exercise regularly in an effort to stay fit, but what about our mind? Learn how yoga improves your fitness.
Many of us feel we deserve a pat on the back at the end of the day. After all, we stuck to our healthy eating plans, accomplished our workout goals and generally feel that we’ve had a successful day when it comes to fitness. Yet, we did nothing for our mental fitness.
We take great care of the muscles in our body, yet neglect the most important one…the brain. We fail to realize that overall fitness should also involve the mind. While yoga does allow us to make a great mind-to-body connection, there’s several other ways yoga improves your fitness.
Yoga helps increases flexibility as well as range of motion. This alone will make your regular workout more productive and more free-flowing. One study concluded that an eight week yoga program improved overall flexibility by almost 35 percent. As you know, increased flexibility also reduces the risk of injury during your workout, especially from hyper-extension.
Yoga also strengthens the core, depending on the pose. Then again, there are poses for every part of the body. Have a body part that needs more attention? Yoga might just be your answer.
Yoga is a great cardio workout. While not necessarily considered an aerobic activity, certain varieties of yoga will put you through your paces.
Yoga concentrates on breathing; a deep and controlled breathing. Once perfected, this method of breathing is an asset in all other physical activities. Your workouts, runs or other activities will become more fluid and seem free-flowing.
There are over 100 various styles of yoga. Some easy and calming and some are a bit more strenuous and intense. Here are some of the more common techniques:
This is the most common type and is the one most people relate to when they think yoga. The moves are basic with concentration on breathing. Hatha is great for those just getting started with a yoga program.
Yin Yoga is designed to calm both body and mind. Similar to meditation, the moves concentrate on stretching and relaxation.
In this form of yoga the moves are continuous, that is one move flows right into another. The pace is quicker than Hatha and actually ends up to be quite the aerobic-style workout. Vinyasa is for those who prefer a more rigorous form of yoga.
Ashtanga is a more regimented style of yoga with a series of six poses that are performed in a specified order. Good for people who prefer a regiment that is consistent.
Also called “Hot yoga”, Bikram is performed in a very hot room. 26 poses are done over a 90-minute time frame. Be prepared to sweat. It is strenuous and proper hydration is essential in order to compensate for the vast amount of fluid lost through sweat. Many people love Bikram because the sequence is always the same.
This type of yoga relies on the assistance of props to aid with proper performance of the poses. Things like chairs, blocks and belts assure that the poses are done in proper alignment whereby strain can be avoided.
When you take into consideration that yoga has been around for at least 5,000 years, you have to think that there must be something to this thing. Yoga improves your fitness, whether you’re looking to complement your workout routine or just want to relax with a little activity. There’s a yoga method for everyone. Plus, yoga can be done anywhere and without any equipment.
This video should give you a little more insight into how yoga improves your fitness.