Yoga is often perceived as a gentle stretching exercise that is more suited to seniors and the super-bendy than it is to the average person wanting to get in shape. However many people fundamentally misunderstand how yoga works and how it actually provides your body with a great workout that, in conjunction with other forms of exercise, can actually help you get in great shape.
Here are some frequently asked questions about using yoga in your exercise routine that can help you understand exactly why yoga is a must if you want to get fit.
How does yoga work? It’s just stretching, right?
Any good exercise regime combines a cardio workout (which burns fat) with a strength workout (that builds or tones muscle). Yoga falls into the latter category, and it a great alternative for people who don’t find sit-ups or weights the most most exciting way to build muscle.
Yoga really works your muscles because it forces them into stretches and unusual positions that push them in ways that they’ve never been pushed before. The benefit isn’t so much in getting into the stretch but in holding it: you might think a 5K run is hard but try bending your leg around your neck and holding it in that position for a few minutes. Your muscles will literally shake for the effort and you’ll literally feel the stretch push your muscles to breaking point.
How will a few stretches really help me get in shape?
Yoga isn’t just about the poses and exercises themselves. Yoga is surrounded by a culture that promotes healthy eating, balanced living and a variety of other lifestyle choices. While I’m not advocating throwing out all your clothes and wearing only hemp, I will say that it is interesting and often beneficial to learn about the lifestyle element of yoga. There is always something you can learn and adapt for yourself.
For example, yoga is often perceived as deeply seated in Hindu traditions, so many of those actively involved in yoga also practice vegetarianism. There is also an emphasis on eating fresh foods and living sustainably that many find helpful when getting in shape. Yoga helps you develop a healthy attitude when it comes to eating and food, which is important if getting in shape for you involves a battle with food as well as exercise.
So yoga alone won’t help me get in shape?
If you’re looking to drop pounds, then yoga can be a part of your exercise regime but it shouldn’t be ALL of it. Like I said earlier, any good exercise regime is made up of a cardio and a strength component. You must combine yoga with cardio (like running or aerobics, anything that gets your heart pumping) to get the greatest gains.
The best part is that they are mutually inclusive. The better at yoga you become, the stronger your muscles will be and the easier you will find cardio workouts. It is the same in reverse: if you’re fitter and leaner you might be able to get much more out of a yoga session than you did previously.
So how do I get started?
Yoga is incredibly easy to get into and is suitable for anybody, it’s as hard or as easy as you make it. If you are an absolute beginner, I’d recommend taking a class so you don’t hurt yourself attempting unfamiliar poses, but once you’ve got the hang of it you can practice yoga anywhere that you have a yoga mat or yoga gloves. Search the internet, buy a book or keep going to classes: whatever way you choose to do it, yoga can be beneficial for you.
Getting in Shape With Yoga – by David V. a guest post specialist for Yogapaws Yoga Store , the coolest yoga gloves and accessories shop online.