You may practice Yoga occasionally; or you may even practice daily – but there’s always a few Questions that you would like to ask. Because Yoga is such broad term and involves so many different forms and interpretations there’s bound to be things that need clarification. Here’s a few YOGA FAQs that I’ve been asked over my dozen-years teaching career. If you have more questions, please write to me.
1) Is Yoga enough for exercise?
Yes. A well rounded Yoga practice will train you in Flexibility, Strength and even Cardio. While most people can immediately identify with the Flexibility training in Yoga; each of the asanas/ poses trains the Strength of individual muscles and the whole body itself. In fact the core strength training in Yoga is something that all practitioners will truly appreciate. In terms of Cardio, practicing Surya Namaskaars is one of the best whole-body Cardio exercises. So, if you’re regular at Yoga, you will be fit and more importantly healthy in body and mind!
2) Can I practice Yoga and also hit the Gym?
Of course you can. On alternate days you can practice Yoga and on the other days go to the Gym or other fitness activities. And if you are a regular gym-body, then practicing Yoga even 1-2 times a week will keep your muscles stretched so that you don’t end up getting stiff from all the weight-lifting. Yoga is so natural to the body that it will compliment any other fitness activity and will improve your sports performance. Most top athletes now incorporate some Yoga training in their schedules.
3) How about Running & Yoga? Is it a good combo to train for a half-marathon?
Yoga is often seen as the perfect compliment for Runners. This is because of a number of key benefits of Yoga practice. Firstly pre-Running and post-Running; Yoga stretches your hamstrings, calves, thighs, back and shoulders in such a way that you don’t sustain injuries and even if you do – recovery is much faster. Secondly, having a flexible body allows you to run much more freely and consequently faster! Thirdly, Yoga trains your core allowing you to maintain ‘shape’ while running. All runners know that core strength powers their running! Fourthly, Yoga trains you to breathe deeper and better, which is vital is you want to pace yourself for a half or full marathon. Praanayam (whether you know it by that name or not) is in fact, a must for a runner.
Finally, Running a half or full marathon is often a battle in the mind. Often you could either give up when it gets tough on the body, or be so distracted with random thoughts throughout your running that you end up wasting a lot of energy and getting tired soon! Meditation trains you to come to terms with the fickleness of the mind; thereby improving your will power, concentration and determination to complete your Run!
4) Can I lose weight through Yoga?
Yes you can. Yoga has reached dizzying heights of popularity mainly because of its usage as a Fitness class and specifically in many cases due to its efficacy in weight-loss. Yoga trains the muscles and also helps in calorie-burning. However, the real magic is not in the calorie-burning but rather in the hormonal changes that Yoga brings about. Once the homeostasis of the body is maintained correctly, you will eat just the right quantity that you need. This ensures that you don’t pile on the calories which happens in case your body is not giving you the right signals when to stop eating and so on. Also, people often put on weight during times of emotional stress – it’s during these periods that you will eat ‘absent-mindedly’. In other words, you end up eating junk whilst in your mind you are going through some sort of churning.
5) Can a simple Yoga practice improve my overall Health?
Yoga is great mainly because it doesn’t just look at the individual as a Body alone. It works on the body-mind matrix together which is a much more holistic way of viewing a person. This has hugely positive repercussions on Heallth – very often we see people who a re Fit but not Healthy! This is an important point to remember. Fitness and Health are very closely related and Fitness is almost mandatory for Health. However, not every Fit person is Healthy! Yes, umpteen cases are reported every year of Champion Athletes suffering through Depression and other illnesses. Athletes whom we consider to be paragons of Fitness are often so Mentally unhealthy that we need to review how we view Health. It’s a much deeper thing that have a strong core or a great figure.
Yoga, through it’s body-mind-spirit discipline enables holistic Health and a much more balanced Personality. Yes, Yoga will make you Fit – but that’s part of the bigger picture and not the end in itself!
I hope these 5 points were helpful to you. Kindly do share this article to others who may be interested in knowing a few things about Yoga. In the next article I’ll cover 5 more Yoga FAQs. Please write in to me if you have a specific question that you want answered. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
– MANISH POLE
Yogi, Speaker & Author on Yoga, Director at Total Yoga