Have you ever asked yourself why Yoga seems to continue to increase in popularity? Have you noticed how now it is on most timetables alongside all the fitness classes such as Zumba, Circuits, Boogie Bounce, Aerobics and Spin, where as it used to always be quite separate, and only in specialist studios or community spaces? Also that now your instructor not only teaches fitness classes, but also teaches Yoga (or Pilates or another Mind/Body Class).
The perception of Yoga has changed in recent times, partly through celebrities singing its praises, and partly through research which has shown how the physical benefits of Yoga can aid us, either on its own or as part of a wider training programme. Gym instructors and Personal Trainers are aware of the benefits and difference adding yoga or stretching into a weekly routine can make and so are suggesting clients try Yoga. In addition, Yoga Teachers are evolving, and there are more varieties of Yoga readily available than ever before. This all means now is a great time to try Yoga out; with the variety of options available, you can find what works for you.
But first, let’s go back to the question “Why should I do Yoga?” There are many reasons why you should incorporate Yoga into your workout routine. These are some of the major reasons.
- To increase your flexibility; and do you know, one of the most common reasons people give me for not trying Yoga is “I’m not flexible enough”. I think this stems from the stream of photos we are bombarded by, showing people in poses that look pretty, but we can never imagine being able to do. Yoga isn’t about how you look but is about trying a pose, and over the weeks and months seeing progression in how it feels and seeing a difference in your every day life and other training. Stretching and lengthening our muscles can help us train harder in our next workout. Also becoming more flexible can sometimes help with general aches and pains we suffer with.
- To increase muscle strength; yes, holding yoga poses isn’t as easy as it looks! That’s not to say that it isn’t for everyone; just like other forms of exercises, there are options, and you are able to come to relaxation poses when you need to; and you will often see people taking this option. Different poses are more challenging for different people as they require strength in different parts of the body. It’s all about working at your own level and gradually seeing improvements, both in the class and in other workouts or simply in everyday activities.
- To help relaxation and reduce stress; Yoga is a type of Mind/Body Class as it helps us connect the Mind and the Body. Some classes have a stronger element of this than others; generally, more fitness-based classes have less of this, although there still will be an element, even if you are not aware of it. Most Yoga instructors will get you to think about your breath as it helps us concentrate and be more aware of our body. As in the gym, we can often forget to breath, as we are focusing so much on what we are doing. By using our breathing, we can get deeper into poses, increasing flexibility and strength. The focus on breathing helps us switch off from the rest of our day, helping relaxation, and reducing stress. The relaxation side to Yoga also helps us recover from intense training sessions, speeding up muscle recovery.
- To improve posture; the movements and poses in Yoga can help loosen tight muscles, help joints (including the spine) to function more correctly, and help with balance which all lead towards improved posture, counteracting the effect of our technology driven lives.
There are many other benefits of Yoga such as improving sleep, aiding with depression and becoming more aware and connected to your body and emotions, but those listed above are the major reasons you should incorporate Yoga into your weekly workout schedule. Why not take action now and book your first class? HIIT Yoga Fusion combines the benefits of Yoga in a HIIT format and is held on a Thursday evening at 8pm at Centre 2000; there’s a special offer for the month of April, by using code XXSGBHRQ you can get 1/3 off this class (and selected other classes). If you have any questions before coming to your first class, please contact me.