Yoga originated thousands of years ago as a science to understand and work on the physical and subtle body so as to lead optimal life, and as a philosophy and way of life with techniques like asana, meditation, pranayama to heal and connect with the inner self.
For over a few decades now, Yoga has been in the limelight and has been in extensive demand. However, the hype and fame is not the outcome of awareness campaigns or popularity of few yoga styles and teachers, it is the benefits of Yoga that are attracting more and more people from all backgrounds to give this ancient practice a try.
The principle of yoga is to make people fit from inside as well from the outer side of the body. While the need to look fit and toned might be one of the primary reasons for the increase in Gym lovers, Yoga followers are on the rise not just for getting in shape and getting flexible, but mainly because a Yoga class leaves them feeling good and healthy from inside.
The practice of Yoga is not just the physical practice of asana or the mental practice of meditation, it is the practice of uniting the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects by working on mind, body, and soul to lead a healthy and balanced life. It helps establish the connection with the inner-self which further leads to an increase in self-awareness.
On the other hand, Gym workout sessions are designed to make you help restructure, strengthen and sculpt your body. While it can make you physically stronger and motivate you to eat right and exercise regularly, it does not work around the notion of inner-healing and inner-calm. The focus remains on what is outside and visible to the eyes.
Yoga gives you a sense of soothing relief and peace. It encourages you to look inward and gives you the space for self-reflection. Finding this calm in real life is hard in today’s era, especially with long work hours, financial stress and other life stressors. Further, getting that in any gym-like environment or workout, amidst loud music, weight lifting, targets, and challenges, becomes even harder.
What do you consider Yoga to be? An alternative or the real thing?
Yoga works both ways, from being an alternative to extensive Gym sessions to providing a disease-free life. Yoga exercises involve more stretching and movement with breath awareness and all that makes every cell and muscle of the body to work. It flushes out toxins and makes the organs work efficiently and at the same time helps in reducing or maintaining body weight.
Yoga works mainly on making the body healthy, although excess weight does shed off while doing yoga asanas on a routine basis, especially Vinyasa flows likes Surya Namaskar and Ashtanga Yoga, which also includes breathwork. Overall, Yoga supports the motive of getting healthier instead of just losing a few inches of stubborn weight.
Several different types of Yoga therapies are available these days like Ashtanga, Yin, etc. Each of them provides different traditional benefits. Some provide a sense of calm to the nervous system, others might strengthen the body, or align the body, or even prepare the body for extensive training and promote healing after an injury.
Several athletes and celebrities choose Yoga over other available workout sessions to achieve a healthy body and mind along with the benefit of getting in shape. Also, it provides the flexibility to practice anywhere and has many variations so you can practice without getting prone to injuries and even without any heavy equipment.
Hence, Yoga can be considered as a therapy besides an exercise routine. It makes one more aware and conscious about the body, mind, emotions, and the soul and their interconnections which enables us to address the root cause of any imbalances and encourages us to lead a holistic and balanced life.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
- It keeps you motivated and de-stresses the entire body and mind. Yoga helps in establishing a sense of inner calm and peace. In a hectic routine, a Yoga session of 30 minutes can give benefits way beyond and long-lasting than a 1-hour Gym session. Yoga provides long-lasting results that are unmatchable and non-comparable to any other workout sessions if followed on a routine basis.
- Yoga teaches to create a balance amongst everything which is the very essence of all yoga practices, be it asanas, pranayama or meditation. That learned art of balancing also teaches us to find balance in our day to day life, such as to develop a balanced diet and mindset. Further, it helps a person with not just addressing individual issues such as balancing weight, or hormones, or chakras, or thoughts, instead it has a collective impact on all internal and external aspects which in turn enables positive transformation.
- The practice of Yoga was traditionally done under a teacher’s guidance which was never a cause or concern of injury. Today; however, with various new styles of Yoga emerging across the globe, yoga injuries have been a cause of concern. It is here when the modern yoga teachers and studios have to step back and reflect on the yogic philosophy, which highlights the need to be mindful and aware. Yoga is not a competition and the physical asana practice is to understand the mind-body-breath connection. If one remains mindful about this, the risk of injury in asana practice can be completely ruled out.
- It makes the body fit and disease-free by preventing several diseases.
- Yoga helps in losing weight gradually which prevents weight gain when you decide to stop your practice for a while for whatever reason and fall back into your old patterns.
- Unlike Gym sessions, Yoga can be practiced anywhere, indoors or outdoors, in studios and at home and even while traveling. There is something called Airplane Yoga for frequent travelers! However, if you have never practiced yoga before, it is advisable to learn under a trained teacher at a studio or workshop or attend a few guided classes online to understand proper alignment.
What do you think gives early results in terms of fitness? Yoga or Gym?
Yoga being a way of inner healing might take a little longer than Gym work out sessions to show the visible effects. However, the results once achieved by practicing Yoga are long-lasting, which may not usually be the case of Gym-only workout.
Usually, Gym workout sessions show instant and effective results within a few days of starting your workout. But once a person stops practicing a regular Gym workout routine then the weight tends to creep back up on the body. This makes the body get out of shape again and in the long run, these ups and downs can take a toll on one’s overall health.
There are no specific timelines or restrictions concerning Yoga whereas certain things need to be constantly followed as a routine when it comes to Gym sessions.
So even though some gym workouts give immediate results, they are not long-lasting, unless you continue on a regular basis. But Yoga exercises give everlasting flexibility and health which lasts even if exercises are stopped temporarily. Yoga also allows you to further explore your range of movement and strength as it helps develop a strong foundation.
Growing older gracefully is what Yoga teaches you along with giving you other health benefits. Although many Yoga practices are gaining popularity as anti-aging, weight-loss, hormone balance, etc., the fact is that Yoga teaches self-acceptance and this where the healing starts.
Irrespective of age and gender, physical health and flexibility, or any other limitations, health, and fitness can be achieved by anyone by practicing Yoga. Yoga helps in making one aware of inner strengths and prepares the body and mind gradually to age well.
Yoga minimizes the chances of getting diseases like blood pressure, heart disease, depression, diabetes, and many more. Once the body gets trapped in diseases then it becomes hard to get a permanent and full cure from it. So it is better to take a leap forward and prevent such harmful health-damaging habits and diseases by practicing Yoga.
Many health and fitness personalities including athletes ensure to make Yoga a prominent part of their daily routine. It does not matter if you prefer to go to a Gym for a rock-solid extensive workout, you can still make Yoga a part of your pre-workout stretching exercise or a post-workout cooldown routine.
Practicing yoga before Gym sessions even help in injury prevention such as a ligament tear during extensive workouts. Likewise, a post-workout routine will help reduce pain and muscle soreness. In the long-run, including Yoga stretches in your regular workout sessions can actually enhance your overall performance, improve your muscle strength and balance, boost immunity and stamina, giving you less or no reasons to skip a Gym workout ever again! And this way you get to taste the benefits of both the worlds.
Hello Readers !! Natalie and Caitlyn Bell are the founders of Healtholine. They started Healtholine to provide a platform where they could share informative articles related to health, fitness, beauty, weight loss, etc. Natalie is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and fitness industry. Connect with both sisters to know more.