Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years by millions of people. If you know any yogis or have had a conversation with one, you will discover they are deeply passionate about their practice, which if you’re a skeptic, may drive you away from giving it a try. However, we would encourage you to add it to your regular fitness schedule. Whether you are a bodybuilder, runner, exercise class attendee, or anything in between the benefits of Yoga are vast and incorporating it into your week will only help you reach your goals, feel better mentally and physically, and improve the recovery of your body from strenuous activity. Overall Yoga, improves cardiovascular endurance, develops muscular strength and tone, strengthens the entire core area, improves balance, flexibility, coordination, and joint range of motion, increases mental clarity, and calms and centers the mind. There are all types of Yoga, you may need to try a couple classes before you find one that benefits you and suits your personality.
TYPES OF YOGA
There are many different kinds of Yoga, but the ones you are most likely to find around here are likely based on Bikram, Hatha, and/or Power.
Bikram: Yoga poses in a sauna-like room. The heat is cranked up to nearly 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity in official Bikram classes. If it’s called “Bikram”, it will be a series of 26 basic yoga postures, each performed twice. Best for weight loss, you can burn 350-600 calories in one class. The heat is also excellent for those who are not as flexible. Make sure to drink lots of water. Hatha: One of the six original branches of yoga, “hatha” encompasses nearly all types of modern yoga. These classes are usually a classical approach to yoga. These types of classes are good for beginners as well as for de-stressing. You will also get all the other benefits of yoga by practicing Hatha. Power: An athletic and active style of yoga. It does not follow a sequence of poses so the class design depends on the instructor. The isometric muscle movements help you burn calories, build muscle definition, increase core strength, and improve balance.
YOGA FOR BODYBUILDERS
Your muscles are being shortened from the constant repetitive short range of motion and single-plane of motion lifts that are typical in bodybuilding training (bench press, shoulder press, squats, deadlifts, etc.). Yoga can loosen up your stiff joints and improve your range of motion, both of which are side effects from bodybuilding. Further, if you ever wish to compete, Yoga focuses on the poses but also on how they are geared towards creating beautiful long flowing lines of the body, while keeping the body in a neutral alignment. This helps create muscle balance and improves posing endurance.
YOGA FOR RUNNERS
The strength and flexibility developed on the mat, namely in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors, can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free. Yoga should have a converse relationship with your running. When you are ramping up your mileage and your workouts you should focus on relaxing sessions of yoga. When you reduce your mileage or are maintaining less strenuous workouts you can increase the intensity of your yoga. Runners have a high threshold for pain and are generally competitive in nature, which makes them more susceptible to injury. Yoga can help you focus on your trouble spots and reduce your likelihood for injury.
YOGA FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Studies show that Yoga aids in weight loss and those that include yoga are more likely to stick with their exercise routine. Yoga, in general does not burn as many calories as other aerobic exercises, however, studies continue to show that the practice of yoga aids in weight loss. It could be the mind body connection that is formed, the increased appreciation of one’s body, or several other reasons. It certainly eases pain and increases muscle recovery, which may lend itself to continuing your exercise program. It also calms the mind and provides de-stressing, which can be a trigger for many to overeat. Whatever the reasons, there is a lot of evidence out there that suggests you may want to give it a go.