Does The Wall Street Journal think they’ve finally answered the question, Is Yoga Just Posing as a Good Workout? Here’s a great yoga video that does help you loose weight. Does the writer, Nancy Keates, think it’s possible to reduce an ancient practice that seeks to unite body mind and spirit into the cardio-equivalent of scratching yourself? The most intelligent quote in the entire article was a quote by Bikram Choudhury, founder of the Bikram style of yoga: ” Modern medical science isn’t developed enough to explain yoga’s benefits.” There is no way to measure the effects of the reduction in cortisol, the affects on the adrenal hormone, bone loss, or the effects on the hormones called catecholamines — from Yoga Like Salt.
For some, yoga is sweating in a 120 degree room for 90 minutes, while you do 20 of the most challenging balance poses, two times. In the end, your heart is beating like a race horse. And you are wet. For some, yoga is pure and simple stretching and deep breathing. For others, it’s something in between the two.
Is yoga cardio? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Given the state of obesity in the world, isn’t any activity better than no activity? Given our level of stress today, isn’t yoga’s mind-body connection a gift? I will admit; I am not as calm with my kids as I wish I was. How much more stressed would I be if there was no yoga in my routine?
But, can I tell you how great it feels to be in my forties and to be able to touch my toes — easily! This is something my 11 year old cannot do. The yogis say that the secret to youth lies in the degree of flexibility in your spine. As we age, low back pain and upper back stress are our most common complaints. Once this begins, your ability to stay active diminishes. To stay active, take care of your spine.
Most people (especially males) focus on strengthening exercises and add cardio but don’t pay attention to the fact that the body needs flexibility as well. Others do cardio (ie marathons, biking) and a little weight training as well, but forget stretching and suffer from various overuse injuries (think tendinitis, shin splints, etc). When you think of someone when they get old, they not only lose strength and stamina, but become incredibly stiff. Some forms of Yoga will definitely help with cardio and strengthening (all in varying degrees), but the main physical benefits are related to stretching and exercise in a safe, low impact manner. Not only does the Yoga provide a very healthy workout, but it also helps with various medical problems (plantar fasciitis–mine was cured in one session, but also scoliosis, carpal tunnel, back pain, etc). In short, Yoga is a great form of exercise with many benefits…
For me, personally, yoga is rarely the same thing on every day. But it is a daily ritual I cannot skip — as I will lay awake until I get up to move. For some reason, I cannot sleep until I’ve had my yoga.