Yoga is not just a physical workout but a mental one as well. We constantly hear about the benefits of yoga but how far are these true? And does yoga give you all the exercise your body needs? Let us break down for you how yoga works so that you can see for yourself that yoga is not only as great as the Gurus claim but is the complete package when it comes to a physical workout.
What is physical fitness?
At the end of the day, the purpose of our workout is to improve physical fitness, so, first, let’s answer the question what physical fitness is. Physical fitness is not the ability to lift heavy weights or run marathons. Even regular runners train specifically to run long distance. Physical fitness is the ability to go through your day feeling energetic and being able to get everything done without burning out.
If you feel exhausted halfway through your day or if the slightest physical activity leaves you out of breath or with muscle ache, then you are not physically fit. Consequently, if you are able to finish all your daily tasks and have enough energy left over at the end of the day, then you are physically fit.
How does yoga make you physically fit?
Yoga has the dual function of working on both the mind and body. The meditative processes help the mind to relax, improve focus and mental toughness.
On the body, yoga works to strengthen the muscles and make them more flexible as well as improve respiration, blood circulation, and cardiovascular activity.
Here is a more detailed explanation of how yoga works on the body:
- Lifting your own body weight helps to increase the muscle mass and make muscles stronger.
- When stretching, your muscle tone improves and muscles become more flexible.
- The more rigorous asanas increase the heart rate and give a cardiovascular workout.
- The breathing exercises or pranayama improve both respiration and circulation and helps provide more oxygen to the muscles.
Studies on people who practice yoga daily show that these people are among the top fittest in their respective age groups. Regular yoga practice has shown to increase vitality and greatly reduce the risk of heart disease.
The great thing about yoga is that you can regulate it to suit your needs. If you feel that you are not working up enough of a sweat, you can always take on a more rigorous practice, like Surya Namaskar. By the end of the twelve poses of the sun salutation, you will definitely have increased your heart rate and worked up a sweat.
The corpse pose done usually at the very end of a yoga routine helps your body to tie in the entire routine and feel it in your core. The meditative corpse pose also brings a mind-body connection that gives you a more satisfied workout experience.
When you consider the completeness of a yoga routine, you can see that it is the only workout you will ever need.