Many people are wondering if yoga, as a relaxing and low-impact physical activity, is sufficient to provide sufficient general fitness. Before answering this question, it is important to understand that physical fitness is not the same thing as muscular strength. Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being that can be achieved through proper nutrition, exercise, and enough rest.
Yoga is an ancient discipline, practiced for more than 2000 years. Yoga is literally translated as joining or the union. This is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that unites many different aspects of wellbeing into a perfect harmony.
Yoga and physical fitness
Benefits of yoga are numerous. Regular daily exercise can treat and prevent many physical ailments and provide a lot of calmness and stress relief. However, yoga can also provide a complete fitness regime, even when exercisers do not combine it with cardio training or weight lifting. Yoga positions, or asanas, are focused on holding a body in a firm but relaxed position for extended periods of time. The proper way of practicing asanas is to keep the body steady and comfortable while the practitioner experiences no discomfort. Because of this, people often believe yoga does not provide any fitness benefits. However, there is a lot of evidence that yoga improves fitness and provides many benefits well beyond flexibility and relaxation. The definite proof is the recent testing of three yogis, conducted by Yoga Journal. According to their results, yogis had improved strength, aerobic capacity, and lung function. Their overall risk of suffering a cardiac even was less than 1 percent.
Yoga positions for fitness
All of the yoga postures performed from the standing position like Tadasana and ardha chandrasana, are great for fitness. Standing positions are more challenging as they involve stretching the whole body and often balancing a posture. Exercises from standing position can increase the levels of endurance and bring a lot of flexibility and suppleness to the joints and muscles.
Forward bending and backward bending are great for the spine. These exercises promote elasticity and can help to achieve immense agility and nimbleness of movements. Twisting positions, which employ lateral stretching and twisting of the spine, are great for building resilience and elasticity.
Exercises triggering the pelvic and lumbar regions are great for fitness. This region, also known as the “core” includes abs, back and pelvis. Strengthening of these muscles makes it easier to do most physical activities and promotes overall fitness levels.