When talking to someone unfamiliar with yoga, how often have you heard the question, “Yoga… isn’t that just stretching?”
Contrary to popular belief, yoga is way more than just stretching. It combines breathing exercises, meditation, stretching, and perhaps the most overlooked piece, adherence to a proper diet.
The word yoga is taken from the Sanskrit word Yuj which means to bind or yoke. It is often interpreted as a “union” or a method of discipline. Yoga’s ultimate goal is the union of man with God in one breath. Additionally, yoga aims to free the spirit, as the spirit and mind are equally involved in the practice.
Yoga is the oldest existing physical-culture system in the world. It has numerous benefits, starting with being a scientifically proven and systematic path toward attaining physical fitness. It also delays aging, improves and rejuvenates appearance, increases vitality, and maintains suppleness and the creative parts of life.
Yoga practice starts with its core warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations. These are somewhat similar to the calisthenics exercise known as ‘burpees.’ Yoga also includes forward and backward bending poses, inversion poses, and balancing exercises for the arms and building focus. When you put all this together, most practitioners will agree that yoga stands on its own for attaining increased fitness.
Does yoga help with building strength? Absolutely! For example, try holding the peacock pose for 90 seconds. Even the most adept bodybuilder would likely crash halfway through if they even made it that far.
In addition, yoga offers unique breathing exercises. These exercises are great for people with respiratory disorders. Singers and public speakers can also benefit from them. And remember yoga’s unique relaxation pose, which is frequently practiced during and after a class. Yoga offers a means of deeply relaxing the entire body, perhaps the way no other exercise can. And don’t forget that several poses even give a deep body massage similar to the ones received in salons. What other method of exercise can offer all that?
Countless videos, books, DVDs, and classes are available for all ages, levels of fitness, and experience. Some may even be free to try it for the first few lessons. Try it out and see for yourself what it can do.
Afterward, you will walk out of your class and agree that “yoga is way more than just stretching.” It is THE exercise.