Yoga is constantly adapting and evolving with different techniques and practises popping up. Are you in the mood to try out aerial yoga? No problem. Want to head to a yoga rave? Easy peasy. Feel like taking yoga to the great outdoors with some adorable goats? Yep, you can do that too.
Modern yoga has been around since the late 1800s, so there’s no surprise that it has become a fitness institution. However, despite its popularity, when some people think of yoga, it’s less “top athlete” and more “hippy-dippy type”.
The truth is, there are a number of health and fitness benefits to yoga that are incredibly helpful to all athletes - from footballers to marathon runners.
With both men and women enhancing their traditional workouts through yoga, we’ve created a list to show you why more people than ever are giving yoga a go, and how you can reap the benefits yourself.
From basics for beginners to moves for masters, there are literally hundreds of yoga positions to practice. Each pose is held in position when performed, which helps to stretch out your muscles and joints to improve your flexibility.
By incorporating yoga into your regular workout, you’ll start to notice a much greater range of motion when performing other exercises. Whether it’s lifting weights or hitting the treadmill, increasing your range of movement through flexibility allows you to make sure your form is always flawless, as well as reducing the risk of injury.
The great thing about yoga is that it’s a full-body workout. It may not be as intense as other exercises, but holding those poses can get pretty challenging - especially the advanced positions.
By starting with simple poses and working your way up, you’ll build your strength up in your arms, legs and core. This is a great way to inject some strength training into your workout without needing to hit the weights. Plus, as you improve and begin to try more difficult poses, you’ll be training your body harder and improving your strength even more.
REDUCES RECOVERY TIME
It doesn’t matter if you’re out on the running track or hitting the squat rack - your muscles need time to recover in order for them to develop.
Restorative yoga is perfect for relaxing the muscles and allowing the fibres to repair gently. By performing slow and gentle yoga poses after a workout, you’re allowing your muscles to recover faster than if you were to just sit out a rest day.
Whether it’s work, traffic jams or an impending deadline, we all feel stressed every now and then. Yoga’s combination of stretching, deep breathing and meditation help to put your mind and body into a deep state of relaxation.
By including yoga into your fitness routine, you not only help ease the physical toll of training, you also see your tension, stress and anxiety levels fall. By controlling your breathing and heart rate, you naturally feel calmer and more relaxed.
In fact, yoga is great for your mental health in general. Studies have shown that yoga can provide long-term benefits to depression, even when antidepressants proved ineffective.
It also helps us to better control our emotions and reactions in difficult situations like arguments, traffic jams, work stress and more.
IT’S A MAJOR DETOX
Regardless of whether it’s Vinyasa yoga or Hatha yoga, by adding yoga to your workout, you’re creating an increase of blood flow across the whole body. This helps to flush out toxins within the body’s tissues, resulting in a number of benefits like an increase in energy and a boost to your immune system.
More intense yoga classes will create greater detoxification, however, even taking part in a beginners class after hitting the gym will leave your body feeling fresh and full of energy.
If you’re interested in seeing how a yoga class can benefit your workout, we have a number of classes available for you to try at Fitness First.