Yoga is arguably the oldest organized exercise system in the world. It dates back thousands of years and, while it originated in India, yoga is now practiced all around the world. There are lots of different yoga styles to choose from. Each one differs in terms of moves performed, equipment used, class duration, and workout intensity. All yoga styles can be extremely beneficial for both men and women.
Yoga has the reputation of being a “soft” or easy form of exercise, and while some styles of yoga are quite gentle, others are surprisingly tough. Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, is especially demanding, whereas Yin yoga is much gentler. Vinyasa yoga, one of the most commonly taught and popular forms of this type of exercise, falls somewhere in between.
With its emphasis on breathing, flexibility, posture, core, balance, and strength, yoga covers a lot of physical and mental bases and can help “fill in the gaps” left by things like weight training and cardio. In fact, more and more sports are adopting elements from yoga to help develop more well-rounded athletes. Rugby, hockey, and football have all embraced yoga, and other sports are following suit.
Yoga is not just good for your physical well-being, it's also good for mental health. Most styles of yoga include meditation and deep breathing stress-relieving exercises. Doing yoga can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
The benefits of yoga
Yoga is a very holistic form of exercise which means it affects your body in lots of different ways. In contrast, running is good for your fitness but doesn't do much for your strength or flexibility, and weight training is good for strength but not so good for fitness. Yoga offers a much more extensive range of benefits.
Here are TEN major benefits of yoga. Each one an excellent reason for trying this ancient form of exercise.
1. Yoga increases flexibility and mobility
2. Yoga is relaxing
3. Yoga is good for strength
4. Yoga is good for your balance and coordination
5. Yoga teaches you to breathe properly
6. Yoga is good for posture and body awareness
7. Yoga can protect you from injury
8. Yoga improves circulation
9. Yoga improves immune system function
10. Yoga can lead to better sleep
You can do yoga at home, learning it from a book or video, or join one of the many classes available in most towns and cities. There are also yoga teachers who specialize in one-to-one tuition and will come and teach you at your home or place of work.
Because yoga is a low-impact activity, it's easy on your joints, and you should be able to practice it daily. This could mean a full 90-minute yoga class or just a few minutes working on your favorite poses, or asanas as they are correctly called.
Using a Gymboss timer to make your yoga workouts even better
Yoga poses are traditionally held for a set number of breaths or, in a class situation, for as long as your teacher tells you to. Counting breaths CAN work, but if you are concentrating really hard on achieving the right position (not always easy!), you might forget to keep track of your breaths.
Your Gymboss makes an ideal yoga timer. Instead of counting breaths or trying to keep an eye on your watch, just set your interval timer and use it to control how long you hold each pose.
If you are new to yoga, this might mean setting your interval timer to just 30-60 seconds. But, for more advanced practitioners, you might want to hold each pose for several minutes. The longer you hold a pose, the harder it will be but, also more beneficial too.
When using your Gymboss as a yoga timer, make sure allow time between intervals to move from one pose to the next. This should never be rushed, so always give yourself enough time to switch positions, 5 – 10 seconds should be sufficient. We recommend setting your Gymboss up with this position switch time built in. For example, if you want to hold each pose for 30 seconds, set your Gymboss yoga timer for intervals of 35 seconds, which will give you 5 seconds to get into the next pose.
Yoga might seem like an easy workout option, but some styles can be very demanding, and there is a type of yoga to suit almost everyone. Power yoga combines quick transitions between poses with extra core and strength exercises. In contrast, Yin yoga is much slower paced and puts an emphasis on breathing exercises and meditation.
Yoga has been around for centuries, and that means it works! Grab your Gymboss interval timer and try yoga for yourself – it's incredibly enjoyable and beneficial.