I am a personal trainer as well as a yoga teacher. I love any type of Functional Training and High Intensity Interval Training but I also love all aspects of yoga, because I do believe they complement each other. While I am pleased to see that other sports realise that they can improve the performance of their sport by including yoga in their training schedule,I am concerned about the lack of crossover between the yoga and fitness communities. The people focused on gym type training. e.g. cardio and weights don’t seem to realise that different styles of yoga encompass most of that, just using body weight. And few yoga teachers ever mention that weight training will improve your strength in your yoga practice. When I talk to dedicated fitness buffs about yoga, I hear excuses like: “I never really enjoy yoga…. I just feel like it is boring.” Or “I don’t like laying on the ground and listening to my breath….. I rather be running instead. I personally like pushing myself to the limit and feel like I got a workout in. “I totally understand. We all have workouts we prefer. However, I know the benefits of yoga from my personal experience!
1 - Yoga increases Flexibility and Mobility
Often these terms are used interchangeably, although flexibility relates to the ability of your muscles to stretch while mobility relates to the many elements that contribute to movement with full range of motion. Unlike what most people think, you don’t have to be flexible or have a great mobility to do yoga, but yoga will help you to get a better range of motion within time.
This means more ease when it comes to maintaining good form for exercises like squats, deadlifts and overhead presses, as well as decreased risk of injury.
2 - Yoga can help you get stronger
Most people think that building strength means lifting weights; however, many yoga poses and flows help to build stability and strength in joints.
If you are used to always working out with equipment or at a fast pace, slowing down and using only your body weight can be a great challenge and help your work your muscles in a new way!
3 - Yoga is a great option for a Rest Day
If you still like to move on your rest days, yoga is a great option! Many poses are feeling really good when you are dealing with sore muscles.
4 - Yoga can help you avoid injuries and burnout from over-training
Do you know the feeling when you have been pushing yourself to the max, training every day and then you find yourself struggling to get out of bed? You feel cranky and have stubborn injuries that won’t heal?
A restorative yoga class might be the thing that helps you recover and calm your stress hormones. Even though you love running, HIIT or heavy lifting, your body may not enjoy doing this every day.
5 - Yoga helps you to control your breathing which controls your nervous system
Practicing yoga, you will learn different breathing techniques you can use to warm or cool your body or just help yourself to feel calm. Controlling your breath means controlling your mind.
Breath is also an essential component to all kinds of strength training.
6 - Yoga helps to develop good body awareness
Your yoga instructor will guide your through exercises and postures with cues how to engage required muscles. You will be asked to hold some postures for an extended time. You will also experience guided breathing. This will assist you in creating body awareness. This means you will improve in your favourite work outs and you are less likely to trip
7 - Yoga improves your mindset
I have suffered from anxiety and depression for years. Yoga has taught me to concentrate on my breathing which calmed down my mind. The yoga philosophy teaches things like focus, mindfulness, contentment and non-harming. This can help you in your life off the matt giving you more resilience, a more positive outlook on life and encourages to take better care of yourself. It can also convert your practice into more effective training sessions.
8 - Yoga makes you the expert on your own body
Have you ever been in a situation where a trainer/coach convinced you that there was only one way to execute an exercise which felt wrong for your body? A good yoga teacher will always encourage you to listen to your body and vary any movement to what suits your body best. When you are encouraged to find what’s best for you, you feel much more inclined to listen to your body and explore what is available to you!