Many times in conversation with people who are looking to try yoga for the first time, I am asked “Do you feel like you worked out after you do yoga?” I think this is a common question for people who have a one-sided perception of yoga, so I wanted to clear some things up.
- What are the benefits of yoga? Quite frankly? Endless. You can view an extensive list here. From physical to mental and emotional, yoga is an extremely well-rounded practice that lengthens and tones all major muscle groups and can help with ailments ranging from anxiety and depression to cancer.
- Who can do yoga? Anyone. Part of the beauty of yoga is that it goes far beyond being a cut and dry cookie cutter workout. There are a ton of styles of yoga to choose from that can accommodate anyone from the disabled or elderly to the athlete elite.
- Do you need to do other exercise besides yoga? This has been debated for quite some time. Studies have been done that show that yoga, when practiced regularly and vigorously, can have all the same benefits of any cardio workout. I am the biggest advocate in the world of yoga, but I think that complimenting it with a running or hiking routine is an awesome recipe for physical fitness. In the end depends on your alloted time for exercise and what your goals are.
- Can yoga be a sweat-inducing workout? YES! Yoga has kicked my butt, made me sweat, and left me out of breath. For all of you skeptics, Sun Salutations are no joke, and it gets much tougher than that! Try a few at a decent pace. Downward-facing-dog works out your entire body and core in one shot. I have muscles I didn’t even know I could develop in my arms from doing yoga… and they never made an appearance after working out at the gym. If you are looking for a workout, stick to the faster-paced classes like Vinyasa. However, keep in mind that it is always important to take a beginners class first so that you know what you are doing.