Yoga for Fitness

What about yoga? Most people are focused on working out hard and fast with weights and cardio classes and don’t give this ancient art a fair shake. Although these types of exercises help shape and tone the body, it’s wise to include the gentler forms of exercise.

If you’re working your body in the hard and fast lane you may be missing out on an important aspect of fitness – flexibility. Let’s face it most people do a minimal amount of stretching once they’re finished exercising. What about you? Do you spend a minute, five minutes, ten minutes stretching? How long do you hold your stretches for?

The average person holds a stretch for 30 seconds or less, if they stretch at all. Does this sound like your routine? If so, you might benefit from a yoga class once a week.

The benefits include:

  • Increased flexibility and range of motion
  • Increased lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
  • Through breathing techniques, gentle stretching and massage of the internal organs
  • Improved respiration, overall energy and vitality
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Stress reduction and mental calming
  • Body awareness and better alignment

Who ever thought that a little bit of stretching and breathing could be so beneficial? I’ve known this for quite some time, but it didn’t hit home until I took a class immediately following a spin class. The instructor focused on stretches for cycling and engaged everyone in a 30 minute routine of breathing, stretching and relaxing. I felt like a million bucks at the end of the session, and had no soreness the next day (first spin class after a one month hiatus).

So switch out one of those cardio classes, or better yet, follow up a grueling cardio session with a yoga class. You’ll get the required 'bending' your body needs and you’ll walk away feeling fantastic.

If you’re new to this anceint art, here are a few pointers to start you off on the right foot:

  1. Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move and stretch
  2. Use a yoga mat (or bring your own) for cushioning and stability
  3. The goal is not to strain but to relax and move your body within your own limits
  4. A good instructor should challenge you but not push you past the limits of your own body

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The contents of this site are the opinions of Michele Tse unless otherwise noted. The information on this site is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical or nutritional advice or treatment. Please consult your health care practitioner before beginning any fitness program.