Wilmington Yoga
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Yoga “Rules” Made to Break

Yoga is a method of exercise that originated in ancient India as part of several philosophies. In the late 19th century, yoga was introduced to western culture.  In the west, yoga is more of an exercise routine than a philosophy of life. Exercise studios and gyms have incorporated the movements of yoga into exercise sessions that provide a wealth of health benefits. However, there are several misunderstandings associated with yoga that prevent individuals from seeking out this gentle and effective form of physical and mental exercise.

Weightlifting and Yoga

Weightlifting and yoga each provide their own health benefits. For example, weightlifting reverses muscle loss that occurs with aging, as well as decreases bone density and joint flexibility losses. Yoga promotes weight loss, stress reduction, and the ability to cope with depression. According to an article provided by My Yoga Online, one should not feel like they need to choose either weightlifting or yoga. Instead mix the muscle-sculpting moves of weightlifting with the blood-flowing postures of yoga for an all-around great workout.

Yoga Sessions Must be Lengthy

One issue preventing individuals from practicing yoga is the misconception that yoga sessions must be longer than 45 minutes in order to be successful. However, mini yoga sessions are often more convenient for individuals with a busy schedule. Additionally, according to Fitness Baron, yoga sessions shorter than one hour have similar lasting benefits of lengthy sessions. Even with 20-minute sessions, yogis can gain joint mobility and flexibility, especially if the exercises are maintained as part of a regular weekly routine. Shorter sessions involving poses, such as sun salutations and Warrior I, can dramatically improve muscular strength, balance and flexibility.

Yogis and Vegetarianism

While many yogis do follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, this is more related to the philosophy of Ahimsa. According to the Aura Wellness Center, this ideal follows the concept that one should avoid doing harm. Followers of Hinduism, Buddhism and other ancient religious beliefs feel that Ahimsa means that one should not consume animal products, and thereby are vegetarian. For yogis who do not follow the religious philosophy of Ahimsa, they may feel they want to become vegetarian for other purposes. However, there is no prerequisite that you must be a vegetarian in order to be a yogi. Furthermore, being a vegetarian is not directly related to the success of performing the postures of yoga.

Yoga is a Religion

This is a common myth that prevents many devout Christians and other believers of Western religions from practicing yoga. Yoga is not a religion, but it is used in religious philosophies. It is directly related to several Eastern schools of philosophy including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. These groups use yoga postures as a natural remedy for managing stress, physical ailments, and mental issues. Additionally, yoga is practiced for meditation by several of the Eastern philosophies as a way to clear the mind of chatter so they are better able to hear their inner voice.

Poses Must be Perfect

Yoga is not a competitive sport. Everyone who practices yoga poses is at a different place in their physical abilities including flexibility. The movements of yoga involve stretching, balancing and strengthening limbs and muscles. Therefore, yoga is a progressive exercise rather than a static action. Additionally there are several schools of yoga including Ashtanga yoga and Iyengar yoga. Within each school there may be 20 or 2,000 poses associated with that form of practice. As a result, there is no way possible for anyone to perfect every single pose in yoga.

Yoga is Not Associated with Weight Loss

If one wants to improve their physique so that they look better, yoga is an ideal exercise. In addition to the inner benefits of stress reduction, mood enhancement and calming, yoga will improve the outer body. Through more strenuous yoga schools, such as Hot yoga or Rocket yoga, one can achieve weight loss if an exercise routine is diligently followed. Of course a healthy diet that correlates with weight loss in addition to exercise, is also important- so no eating a burger with a shake after each yoga session.

Yoga is a powerful way to improve the body and mind.  Act now!  Choose to decide to break these rules and practice yoga-there are plenty of options. If practicing in a studio or taking a yoga class isn’t ideal, opt for yoga videos and illustrated books for at-home practice. The key is to get started to benefit from this holistic form of exercise.

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