If you ask a yogi if yoga is fitness, you would definitely get a negative answer from him/her. To the yogi community, yoga and fitness don’t go together. But often, that’s how most people got to know or got to try yoga because of its appeal to fitness.
Linking yoga with fitness is almost like asking, “would I lose weight if I do yoga” or “would I get in shape if I do yoga”? That’s nothing wrong with asking these questions but you are really selling yourself short if you only settle with losing weight and getting in shape from practicing yoga. There are many more psychological and spiritual benefits of doing yoga. Yes, you will lose weight and you will get in shape when you practice yoga regularly but these are just the by-products of practicing yoga. That’s why we dedicated a whole page to the title of yoga + fitness.
There are many yoga asana (poses) that could get you in shape. For example: downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) uses the hands pushing onto the floor while stretching our lower appendage. This pose stretches our upper back while at the same time stretching our hamstrings and lower back. It has multiple effects on the physical body.
Another example is the four-limbed staff pose or chaturanga dandasana. This pose is truly a strengthening pose for the pectorals, triceps, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior and the whole upper body.
Many Yoga poses require the varied different configurations of our pushing onto the floor, against gravity; thus, strengthening many parts of our body. Plus many yoga poses are done in a holding position along with the use of our breath. It trains the mind to be still while the body is being strengthened. No wonder the by-products of yoga breed such great fitness that led people to think of yoga as equating to fitness.
As you begin your journey of yoga practice, you will discover more benefits of yoga.
“Hatha yoga is meant to prepare the mind for stillness and to prepare the channels of energy that aid focus in meditation.” (Beth Spindle, “Finding Balance: The Importance of Cross-Training for Yogis”, on www.yogainternational.com)
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