Yoga – The Perfect Workout!

Yoga - The Perfect Workout | DoshaFit®

 

As a trainer I keep updated with all the new things coming on the market. We are looking for the perfect workout. Gadgets, training styles that may or may not last. The world of fitness equipment is ever exploding. A few short years ago the big rage was the Tabata method and HIIT, high intensity interval training. Recently we find more focus on body weight training and Youtube is inundated with videos of very buff guys doing pull ups on playground monkey bars. (Oddly you rarely see videos of women doing the same…)

Though personally I like to mix different styles in my training, I’m a sucker for old school weight training with dumb bells and barbells and I’m also somewhat of a gadget girl getting easily lured into trying the newest thing on the market, the body weight style appeals to me in a big way.

 

So what IS the Perfect Workout?

 

Yoga! Really, honestly! … keep on reading!

 

Yoga is the perfect body weight training. It is functional training, just physically spoken it works on all planes of your body. It provides stretch, strength, flexibility and mental stamina.

I often hear people say that Yoga is not for them, it’s not a workout, it’s boring, it’s for girls, “nah it’s just not for me”. Of course there often is mis-education on Yoga’s spiritual background. Yoga is not a religion. The original purpose of the Yoga poses, or asanas, was to prepare the body and focus the mind in preparation to sit in meditation for long periods of time.

In our western culture this may not be the driving force anymore and Yoga has taken a much more physical stance in health and wellness.

 

Let’s see how Yoga is in fact a whole body workout.

 

Often yoga is dismissed and sometimes a person trying it for the first time just doesn’t like the music, is intimidated with terminology or the unknown things they find in a yoga studio, like straps and gadgets and maybe even an altar with “Om” symbols or pictures of deities. Sometimes you just don’t jive with the instructor.

Some people don’t go back because it’s too hard. You may be self conscious because you are

Not as bendy or as stretchy as the person next to you. Or, even though you’ve been working out for many years and consider yourself fit, you find yourself not having the strength and stamina to hold a pose for a long time.

Yoga poses work in an eccentric and isometric range, that means you move your body into a pose and hold it for a number of breaths. This is not only difficult, it can also stretch your mind, pun intended.

Think of all the unnecessary crap your brain is purging when you hold a plank pose for 20 seconds. It’s a mental challenge just as much as physical. Your body will reach steady state fairly quickly at which point the actual holding of the pose and staying in the plank is pure mental strength. That’s when the magic happens, you build strength, stamina, and go through a real mind purge.

Holding poses in yoga is very similar. You may remember the hated wall squat hold you had to perform in PE way back when. The muscle burn and mental chatter.

In most common approaches to fitness we focus more on movement then holds, exercises you move into and hold for only 2 or 3 seconds. However, longer holds are incredibly  strength building.

 

So when you think of doing your next body weight workout, consider including some yoga poses.

 

Here is a mini workout you can use before or as part of your regular Yoga practice or gym routine:

Start with a round or two of Sun Salutation for strength, spinal flexion and extension, and to get your heart rate up. Sun Salutation are not only the perfect workout, but can also be used as a very effective warm up before your gym routine.

Do some push ups

Move into Warrior 1 do 6 static lunges

Move through one cycle of Sun Salutations

Warrior 1 again, lunges on the other side

Step into Chair Pose. Hold. Hold a little longer.

Move into high Plank. From there move into low Plank on your elbows.

Hold. Hold a little longer.

Cobra pose. Take a deep breath. Let it out and move into Childs Pose.

 

From here you can chose to move onto your back into Savasana, or corpse pose, or do your regular after workout stretches.

 

Try this and then let me know if you still feel that yoga can’t be part of your workout. Share your thoughts below.

 

If you want to learn more about how Sun Salutations can increase strength, stamina and flexibility while helping you calm your mind and improve your sleep, join me in the 108 Yoga Challenge!

Claudia Richey is a Victoria, B.C. based Personal Trainer and Ayurvedic Practitioner. She is passionate about sharing her unique approach of training and eating according to ones Body-Mind Constitution with other health professionals as well as using it on an ongoing basis with her own clients to help them reach their goals!

2016-10-13T10:51:03+00:00 Fitness, Yoga|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Murray Phillips August 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Claudia Enjoyed reading your article about the benefits of a Yoga routine being incorporated into peoples weekly exercise routines. I’m currently the Fitness Director at the West Richmond Community Center, and have been a Personal trainer, coach and teacher for thirty years. Because of my age and experience, my clientele is the middle age and senior population. Clients have often asked over the years about routines that could perform at home, in the office or while travelling. So I designed the Mobixgym(please check out the website)complete with a DVD . I have recently been putting together new routines for special populations who need to use the MobiXgym at home, such as cancer patients, pre and post natal women , and those with a variety of disabilities who need to start building their strength and confidence again. But the largest group that will make use of an at home routine is the Baby Boomers who can’t get to the gym due to lack of time . So in designing interesting workouts for at home, I include body weight exercises, Pilates exercises and now Yoga exercises into the routine to make routines even more functional and interesting. So, thank you for the article and the ideas and maybe we can share some further thoughts and ideas down the road. Murray

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