Look at images of people doing yoga asanas; their bodies are awe-inspiring and incredible works of art with strength, balance, and flexibility. Yoga can be a great way to get fit, but exercising and yoga are different in nature.
Effects on the Body
Exercise is great for the body. A few of these benefits include improvements in body composition (increasing muscle tone and decreasing fat) and cardiovascular efficiency.
Yoga is great for increasing strength, flexibility, balance, mental calm, and reducing stress. Holding yoga asanas is where much of the benefits are reaped. Internal organs are balanced and flushed through gentle massage. Energetic points closely mirroring acupressure points are stimulated, which helps open up sluggish areas and increase energy.
Wear and Tear on the Body
Modern exercise can be tough on the physical body. A common method of building muscle is to push the body to the point of muscle fatigue or even past that point. This intentional stress and strain on the muscles creates micro-tears in the muscles.
The muscles grow stronger and bigger because of the repairs the body makes to the muscles. This is additional work for the body as it continually has to repair itself each time exercise is performed!
With yoga, the practitioner is encouraged to listen to the body, gently exercising so that the body doesn’t get to the point of fatigue or over exertion. Resting in Savasana between each exercise or asana further ensures that the body is never under duress. The body gradually increases endurance, flexibility, balance, and strength without the extra strain.
The After Effect
After a tough workout, how does your body feel? You might feel great, alive, and ready to go! Working out causes physical stress, so adrenalin helps deliver extra energy so you’re ready to take whatever challenge is ahead.
After a few hours, the adrenalin subsides and you feel tired. The body is fatigued and needs to rest to repair itself.
After practising yoga asanas with long holding of the postures, resting between each, and with a final relaxation at the end, you’ll feel great – alive and energized, yet calm and peaceful.
After a few hours, you’ll still feel great, and you’ll likely feel you have more energy than before and even after practising asanas! Why? Asanas help to circulate the energy in the body, clearing out blockages so everything runs more smoothly.
Working out is good for the body but yoga can work on the internal organs and energetic channels to give benefits that exercise cannot. Science is only starting to provide evidence for these deeper benefits of yoga asanas that yogis have known for centuries.
A regular yoga practise is a gentle, yet highly effective way to improve the body and soul.