Is Yoga Equal To Your Workout?
Among the series of notions people have about yoga, the one leading the list is that yoga is only meant for girls or gymnastics. Many also believe that it is a religion in some parts of India, pretty easy to do, and is only meant for wimps. But the most misleading of all, perhaps, is that yoga can compare with vigorous workouts for purposes of weight loss and quick body toning - that you can rely entirely on yoga for such results. No doubt, yoga is a great way to keep many diseases at bay and to follow an active lifestyle, but does it really help in weight loss and athletic performance? Today, strength and fitness expert Arnav Sarkar and life coach Malti Bhojwani help us understand whether yoga really equals a workout or not.
Star qualities of yoga
Arnav Sarkar: As a form of activity, Yoga has a lot to offer to its practitioners in terms of mental, physical and spiritual benefits. For eg it is known to reduce stress, improve flexibility, creates a sense of mental well being, etc. For those who are old or have been bed ridden for a long time, it is a great way to begin since it does not break down the body as much as some other vigorous forms of activities do.
Malti Bhojwani: Anything that involves your body, your mind and your breathing is essential to being healthy.
Yoga and Pilates in my opinion is a fabulous way to connect the 3 simultaneously and reap true benefits. A yoga session when done well can be more strenuous and calorie burning than an hour on the treadmill, plus using your own body-weight is a great way to get and stay toned. The health benefits of yoga are incomparable including and not limited to a boost in energy, higher immunity, controls diabetes, can cure back issues, better circulation, better posture and body shape, healthier mind.
In most cases, yoga is more weight training and toning as opposed to cardiovascular training, unless you workout with a yoga instructor who builds in a lot of Suryanamaskars into the program making it 30-40 minutes work of cardio as well.
The right way of incorporating yoga in your daily workout routine
Arnav Sarkar: The best way to go about overall fitness in my opinion will be to do weight training for strength, circuits/rope jumping/sprinting/kickboxing for cardio fitness and Yoga for flexibility.
Malti Bhojwani: Depending on what your needs are, you can choose a yoga routine that works for you or you could participate in both. When I wanted to lose weight, I walked for 60 minutes a day and I did weight training for 45 minutes a day, I did this 6 days a week without fail. So depending on your goal, there are different options you can take. Now that I don't want to lose any more weight, I do yoga/pilates 4 times a week and cardio twice or 3 times only.
Can I replace yoga with my workout routine or vice versa?
Arnav Sarkar: No, I don’t think so. If someone is badly deconditioned due to a long duration of inactivity, and also has been eating junk, sugary, and refined foods for a long time, then doing only Yoga with a good diet initially will help to gain strength, fitness and lose fat. However in the long run more intense activities will be required.
Malti Bhojwani: I don't think so. Again it depends on the type of yoga vs. the type of workout. Get clear on the results you want to achieve from your exercise routine, only then can you make a call.
Arnav Sarkar: At the end of the day, Yoga does have limitations due to which it should not become the only workout that you do, especially if you want overall fitness. While some of its teachers market it as a way to enhance fitness, gain strength, lose fat, in reality it does not give the best results when those are the goals.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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