When we think of fitness training, Yoga training is not the first discipline that comes to mind. To overlook Yoga’s benefits, however, as an independent discipline or an addition to an established training program would be a mistake. While Yogic philosophy can be helpful in every phase of life, challenging Yoga postures, meditation, and breathing techniques enhance physical and mental fitness.
Yoga and Fitness Training
• Breathing (Pranayama)
As a general rule, we can go for up to three days without water and up to three weeks without food, but we need to breathe every three minutes. Many people pass out after one or two minutes. Nevertheless, we tend to take the act of breathing for granted.
Yogic breathing involves slow, deep, controlled breaths. It relaxes the nervous system, balances the brain, strengthens the lungs, eliminates toxins, improves digestion and metabolism, eases muscle tension, and supports the immune system. The limb of Yoga that involves breathing techniques is called Pranayama.
Like breathing, meditation enhances overall performance and well-being. In addition to increasing serotonin levels and getting rid of negative thought patterns, meditation allows us to perceive the world around us more clearly and make better decisions.
Because meditation soothes the nervous system and lowers blood pressure, it contributes to better physical health and greater awareness of the body. Increased energy, greater confidence, and improved stamina are all benefits of meditation.
• Poses (Asana)
Unlike some exercise routines, Hatha Yoga focuses on the entire body, including joints that get little use otherwise. Poses target problem areas like the ankles, hips, and knees and address chronic pain in the neck and back.
Postures also align the spine, improve flexibility, and strengthen the core, reducing chronic back and shoulder pain. Due to the fact that Yogic exercises work tendons and ligaments throughout the body, joints receive more lubrication and hurt less.
Asanas have the unique ability to prevent and manage disease by uniformly stretching and massaging internal organs and flushing toxins from tissues. Not only does this lead to better health, but it augments other fitness programs, too.
Although all styles of Yoga are beneficial, not all raise the heart rate enough to provide the benefits of aerobic exercise. For intense workouts, check out Vinyasa, flowing, Ashtanga, power, and hot Yoga schools.
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