The Benefits of Yoga

By: Ceceila Adams

Yoga can be a uniting force between all methods of fitness. There seems to be a great divide in the gym between ‘Mat Rats’, ‘Rack Rats’ and pure Cardio people.

A lesser known benefit to including yoga to your workout regimen is the improved recovery speed between workouts. All health seekers can agree, from the marathon runners to the super setters, the most discouraging part of working out is the next day – delayed-onset muscle soreness. Some remedies lessen the severity of the soreness like foam rolling but self-myofascial release is not for the faint of heart. Doing at least one Sun Salutation post workout is not only an effective cool down but a way to help lactic acid disperse and have oxygen to return to muscles.

Yoga typically has an equal concentric and eccentric phase, since it’s based on even breaths with an extended isometric contraction which helps to lengthen the muscle and improve range of motion. A full Yoga class once a week can significantly improve range of motion and who doesn’t want to dig deeper in their Sumo Squats? I mean- the only alternative is Pilates or a Ballet class…pick your poison.

Are you tired of wrapping your knees and wrist before lifting; I have personally paid a small fortune to KT Tape. With the world of technological advancement wrist injuries are only second to back and knee due to repetitive stress. Catering your Yoga routine for with specific asanas can lengthen and strengthen the smaller tendons, relieve nerve pain and end the need for braces and ‘safety’ techniques. Braces, wraps and KT Tape can cause muscular imbalances and Yoga can correct them when selecting a routine specific to an ailment.

Talking about muscular imbalances, proprioception is the most valuable benefit in Yoga, improving form. Proprioception is more referred to as an ‘old person’ problem but your ability to maintain equilibrium is important to strength training. You need your form and balance when pushing yourself for that extra set. When you get tired, you break form. Yoga helps with maintaining your form even when enduring extra stress

For any training style, there is a Yoga discipline for you. Do you like they high intensity workouts, try HIIT Yoga. Are you in the gym to lose weight? Try a Bikram Yoga style, however weight lost really starts in the kitchen and is complimented by a non-sedentary lifestyle. Tabata Flow is a fast paced class challenging endurance but Sivananda incorporates more meditation is great for chronic tension.

If you start your Yoga journey blind, you may walk into that one class like I did and not return for years (it was a hot yoga class and I almost died). Make sure you look up what compliments your training program, your form and endurance.