Yoga is an increasingly popular choice for people looking to start a new fitness regime. It is now a permanent feature on the timetable of the majority of fitness centers.
Despite an undeniable surge in popularity, novices often wonder if yoga really gives you a good enough work out. For many, yoga conjures up images of people chanting and getting into unlikely postures, surely this doesn’t qualify as a work out. Or does it?
What Exactly Do You Do In A Yoga Class?
Most classes are derived from hatha yoga. Classes usually include a series of postures (asanas), the coordination of breath and movement, a relaxation period and sometimes a short meditation.
However with so many different styles of yoga on offer, the pace and focus of your class can vary immensely; with the Intensity of work out ranging from moderate to extremely demanding.
If you like to leave a class feeling like you have worked your body really hard and have given it everything, then Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the type you should be aiming for. Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic form of yoga where you flow from one posture to the other without interruption.
The fast pace and difficulty of getting into and holding postures create an intense physical workout that not only works every single muscle of your body but also challenges your endurance. If however you have never done yoga before it is probably best to start with a gentler form of yoga and take up Ashtanga once you have built up your strength.
Also challenging and guaranteed to make you sweat (a lot!) is Bikram yoga. A Bikram yoga consists of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises practiced in a room heated at a temperature of 95-105 ° F. Its founder, Bikram Choudhury claims that external heat aids flexibility and the prevention of injuries, the series are designed to work the muscles, ligaments ,joints and internal organs to achieve maximum health.
Having said that, the emergence and proven benefits of gentler forms of exercises like Pilates or Tai Chi has proven that you don’t have to sweat profusely to reap the benefits of exercising. If practised regularly; yoga ,whatever type you choose, will improve your strength, shape, posture, flexibility, endurance and will work wonders for your general health and well being.
The beauty of yoga is that it not only works your body but also alters your mind: teaching you lessons about yourself that you will be able to apply to other spheres of your life.