Yoga Vs Exercises

Lesson 7/16 | Study Time: 10 Min
Yoga Vs Exercises
Yoga is not a workout but work on yourself

If you go frequently to your local recreation center, you've probably noticed "Yoga instruction" popping up on the exercise class schedule, perhaps tucked between "aerobics" and "Pilates." You may have seen flyers or advertisements around town for Yoga classes ranging from Hatha to Bikram. Perhaps you've even tried some Yogasanas at home. Whatever your exposure to Yoga or Yoga therapy, you may well have wondered how it measures up against traditional forms of exercise. Is yoga just another fitness fad? Or is there more to it? In traditional exercise routines, the primary objective is to target specific muscles and work those muscles to the point of what trainers call "failure." 

Even in running, aerobics, and sports training, the main objective is to challenge muscles and the cardiovascular system to the point where they will be spurred to rebuild themselves with greater strength and power potential. In this way, exercise plays an important role in keeping the body strong and vital. Anyone who has a regular exercise routine knows just how true the adage "Use it or lose it” is.

So is Yoga just another form of exercise? 

Most people with a long-term yoga practice will tell you that Yoga is more than exercise for them. First of all, Yoga tends to work the body more completely and holistically than many approaches to exercise, thus balancing and conditioning the body as a whole. Many types of conventional exercise focus on strengthening specific muscle groups. 

A regular yoga Asanas practice, however, will provide a holistic physical condition, it will strengthen all muscles and, at the same time, stretch and increase flexibility throughout all muscle groups. The result of this holistic approach is that instead of overdeveloping certain muscle groups, yoga and yoga therapy create greater balance in the body by strengthening weak muscles, stretching tight muscles, and improving joint health and the body's range of motion. 

More than that, yoga provides what is known as functional fitness. It doesn't just train the muscles by simply repeating the same movement again and again. Yoga Asanas also engage the mind through challenging skill-building, causing the muscles to work in a more coordinated and intelligent manner and increasing the connection between mind and body.

In addition, traditional exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "fight or flight" response of the body. This can tax the endocrine system and produce toxins, such as free radicals and lactic acid. In contrast, the long stretches and slow breathing emphasized in yoga and yoga for therapy stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts the body in a "rest and digest" mode. This allows the body to rejuvenate itself, providing the body's nervous system with much-needed relaxation. As the body relaxes, so does the mind. 

One of the reasons that yoga has become so popular is that it doesn't just strengthen the body; it cultivates a relaxed state of mind. With a settled, clear frame of mind, many practitioners find that detrimental habits, such as overeating, no longer pose a problem. This is one of the reasons Yoga therapy can help relieve many psycho-physiological ailments, such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Not surprisingly, doctors increasingly recommend yoga physical therapy to their patients as an effective, scientifically measured means of coping with a multitude of health issues-not just emotional disorders, but as an aid, for example, in managing the side effects of cancer treatment or managing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe Asanas as “sthiram sukam asanam”, meaning a body position that is “steady, calm and comfortable”. Physical exercise, on the other hand, is an activity that works our muscles and needs energy. It is different from yoga asana. Here are the differences: 

Physical exercise consumes more oxygen than yoga asanas.

The heart has to work harder during physical exercise, but BP and heart rate decrease when you practice asana.

Physical exercise can overwork joints and even cause rheumatism and stiffness later in life. But asana encourages flexibility and builds stamina. 

Physical exercise builds up toxins in the body while asana eliminates them. 

Generally, physical exercises are done quickly causing heavy breathing. Thus the respiratory system is forced to work harder. Most types of physical exercise develop muscles. The larger the muscle, the more nutrition and oxygen it needs. This means that the organs will get less nutrition and oxygen. Asanas reverse this. They enable the organs to get a greater share of oxygen and nutrition. 

Those who practice yoga need less food compared to those who engage in physical exercise. Unlike exercise, asanas are practiced slowly with relaxation and awareness. Asanas balance emotions and help develop a positive attitude to life. 

In yoga, body temperature drops, while in exercise, it rises. 

Asanas stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is the source of your relaxation response. It is what helps you wind down after a long day at work. It is what slows your body down. It relaxes muscles, lowers your BP, slows your heart rate and breath, starts your digestive juices flowing, and gets your bladder and bowels ready to do their thing. Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which is involved in energy output. When the SNS is activated, we feel it as being stressed or excited. 

Regular practice of asana harmonizes endocrine secretions. The endocrine system works through glands that secrete hormones. When this system malfunctions, we get diabetes, hypothyroidism, obesity, and goiter. 

It is advisable to first learn yoga with the help of a trained teacher like YOU.

Your students will have specific benefits from practicing with you as you gently guide them through the correct process. By pushing the body to achieve different poses, you work the joints and muscles for a greater range of motion and flexibility respectively. 

Poses in Yoga require holding them still for a certain period of time. Holding the poses helps build muscle tone and definition, as well as builds core strength, which can help limit injury in the other activities you partake in daily. Perhaps the main benefit of yoga is that it helps you take control of your body, which in turn can help treat medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia, as well as work to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and the risk of cancer.

Exercise Overview:- Exercise is a broad term, which can refer to anything from running to playing sports to lifting weights to ballroom dancing. The basic concept of exercise is to push your body so that your heart rate is elevated and your muscles become fatigued so that you can run faster, jump higher or swim farther the next time. Exercise helps you physically, strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system, while also improving your mood, energy level, and sex life. The major reason why many people exercise is to lose weight. Intense activity burns calories and can help you shed pounds, which in turn can help prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes. Physical activity in exercise helps stimulate chemicals in your brain that improve your confidence and ability to relax, which can translate to a higher energy level, including in your sex life. Exercise also sends oxygen to your muscles and tissues, helping your body work more efficiently. A good workout will help to tire you out and fall asleep faster, and have a deeper sleep.