“I don’t want to do yoga, because I want a ‘proper’ workout” – this is something I often hear from people…who have never tried yoga!
Don’t get me wrong; some linages of yoga, especially yin are really gorgeous ways to calm the body and mind, with a relaxing, deep stretch. In yin yoga, you are likely to do only five or so postures in one session, but each one is held for several minutes, so you can really deepen into the stretch.
However, yoga can demand a lot more strength (both physically and mentally) than many people think. My lovely students quite often leave my All About the Om yoga classes in Frome with a real sweat on!
Many yoga poses take a lot of stamina to remain in for a prolonged period of time, with good posture and alignment. Take chair pose for example: your core has to engage and really work hard to maintain a good posture. Your thighs feel like they are on fire and your whole body is likely to get a bit of shake going! This is when the breath is even more important – yogis use breath to allow them to focus and remain in an asana (yoga posture) for a longer period of time.
Sun salutations involve a good amount of cardio as well as strength. The yogi moves into a new posture on every inhalation and every exhalation. The steady pace of the vinyasa flow gets the heart rate racing and your body temperature rising, particularly when the whole sequence is repeated multiple times.
There are no doubt other great ways to workout, but the great thing about incorporating yoga into your fitness regime, is that you can really work the whole body in one class or session. So often I hear students say that they are using muscles in yoga they do not use at any other point in the day!
What’s more, whether you are spiritual or just want to help calm your mind, yoga is a great way to do it. Some yogis love to practice meditation every day, and others just like to take a few moments to focus on their breath, to find some peace and stillness. Either way, we all need to take time in our lives to look after ourselves and this is a positive way to do it.
And of course, when all the sweating, shaking and hard work is done in yoga you get to indulge in Shavasana, the conscious relaxation section of a yoga class.
So, with the New Year upon us, why not set yourself an intention to try something new in 2019. Forget all your preconceptions about yoga and give it a go yourself.
See you on the mat!
Kate is the Founder of All About the Om – Yoga with Kate. She is a yoga teacher based in Frome in Somerset, offering group classes, 121 sessions and yoga and brunch events, perfect for all levels and experiences of yoga.