One of the most frequent questions clients ask a yoga instructor is, “Will Yoga make me fit?” Despite the many benefits of yoga, just doing alone will not work. Being fit involves cardio, strength training, flexibility, a healthy brain, and a healthy diet. Yoga is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but other activities are needed to help maintain fitness.
Improving Physical Fitness and Health
Yoga is a great practice that can be beneficial for all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Yoga improves our mental, physical, and emotional health. If you switch up your yoga styles, it can suit a lot of your physical fitness needs. You need to practice different forms that offer different intensity levels, and also make sure you are working towards your overall level of fitness. To improve your physical fitness and health, you need to focus on cardio exercise, resistance exercise (or strength training), flexibility, and neuromuscular exercises.
Cardio exercise improves your cardiovascular system and keeps your heart healthy. A power vinyasa class is an excellent example of yoga that will strengthen your cardiovascular system. While any yoga class is a great way to move your body and stimulate your cardiovascular system, a power yoga class will really strengthen it. A power vinyasa class moves significantly faster than a regular flow class.
Strength training is working and contracting your muscles to withstand resistance. This is great for muscle strength and tone and for keeping the body’s skeleton safe. During a yoga practice, the body moves through lots of dynamic movements but also static holds, which is excellent for building and increasing muscle tone.
Flexibility is the ability to move your joints through their full range of motion (ROM). If you don’t work on this flexibility through stretching, injuries may occur. Also, be careful with hyper-mobility because this is overstretching the joint, not the muscle. Yoga can be a great practice that improves flexibility, but there are always stretching poses weaved throughout.
Finally, it’s essential to do exercises in addition to yoga that stimulate the brain and improve your relaxation as well as mental health. These can be mental exercises like journaling, breathing exercises, self-care routines, or just talking to a friend.
Healthy Diet & Lifestyle
The great news is that yoga accomplishes everything on this list, but you also have to focus on diet. You could do all of the above, but if you eat fried and sugary foods, you won’t see the results. To get fit, you also need healthy food and properly balanced meals. It’s always wise to seek out a holistic health coach or functional nutritionist to find the best options for your body. Try to eliminate packaged and processed food from your diet and in your home, so you are not tempted. Stock your fridge and cabinets with food that is from the earth. A good rule of thumb is that if anything comes in a package, do not eat it.
It’s also important to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. Have adequate time for self-care like meditation, breath work, time in nature, and meaningful relationships. Take care of yourself by prioritizing hobbies like yoga, reading, or even hot baths.
Yoga, along with cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet, will help you stay fit. Explore many different yoga styles and practices and work on incorporating healthy diet and lifestyle tips into your everyday routines.
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