Yoga is one of those exercise styles that you don’t get until you “get” it. People who consider themselves avid exercisers and use the outdoor terrain and gym as their primary locales to get fit (a.k.a. cardio junkies) often dismiss the restorative quality of yoga as passive.
While the approach to fitness is different than what they are used to (though some yoga fusions incorporate HIIT principles, such as XY) yoga can provide health benefits that other practices cannot. Flexibility and stretching are integral in many sports- the more limber you are the easier it will be to sprint and change direction. Professional athletes are beginning to see the benefits in adding yoga to their regimen, which is effecting a change in mindset across the fitness world.
If you already participate in a rigorous exercise routine, a more calming style of yoga is one to investigate. Calming your mind, lengthening your body, and restoring health to your overall structure are not as easy as you might think. Here are some practices that you should consider:
Kundalini yoga is invigorating but not because of the difficulty of the poses. This practices focuses on unleashing energy by providing a fluid string of movement. Holding poses is not easy by a long shot, though, and will require a dedication to legwork.
Iyengar yoga focuses on form above everything else. Body positioning and pose mastery are at the base of this style.
Often called Hot yoga, Bikram yoga takes you through a series of 26 posses that are repeated in succession. What makes this style unique is that the poses are performed in a room that is heated to over 100°. The heat combined with effort aids in weight loss.
This calming meditative style focuses on breathing, exercise, diet, a positive outlook on life, and relaxation. This practice actively boosts vitality and fosters a mind/body connection. There are twelve poses in Sivananda yoga. This practice is designed for those interested in more than just physical movement, but also in spiritual release.
Yoga is not as easy as some people may think. Achieving strides in a yoga practice requires attentiveness, muscle strength, stamina, and perseverance. Try a yoga practice and make it part of your routine for a month. You can do it just about anywhere… in your living room, at yoga studio, or even on the beach!
Don’t worry about mastering anything: you will improve as you continue to do it. The changes you will see in your physical, mental, and spiritual health will surprise you.