Exercise Your Mind and Body with Yoga
Choosing Yoga For Fitness
Yoga is a system of exercises designed to heighten the mind/body connection and help the practitioner gain a greater sense of well-being. Yoga has been used for years by athletes as a means to increase flexibility and strength to gain an edge on their competition.
“I have seen yoga help improve many athletes from pro football players, to runners, to Golfers, just about everybody.” says Robin Appel (Certified Yoga Instructor, www.always-at-aum.com). “It’s not only the physical side of stretching the body that helps them, but the mental clarity and mind/body connection that comes with practicing yoga that can really make a difference to an athlete.”
There are many kinds of yoga, and the way they are practiced will vary with each teacher. Finding a Yoga instructor that works for you is just as important as finding a style that can help you achieve your health and fitness Goals.
Here are some of the basic yoga types that are more geared toward fitness:
If you aren’t in the best of shape yet and want to ease into a yoga class, try Hatha Yoga. Most classes offer a slow pace and allow you to ease into the series of stretches and poses.
Considered one of the fastest moving yoga classes, Vinyasa Yoga is all about the flow and is often practiced to music. Practitioners move fluidly into and out of poses. Also, due to the stretching and holding of poses, new muscles are engaged and classes can be quite intense.
This high temperature class moves at a very rapid pace for usually a full hour and a half. This is a great class for anyone who trains for endurance or racing. It’s also a great way to tune up your body after a long off-season.
Anyone who practices a sport knows the importance of proper body alignment, and that’s what Iyengar Yoga is all about. Using props like blocks and straps, Iyengar yoga stretches the body with a focus on form and body mechanics.
Usually called “Hot Yoga,” this style turns the heat way up (anywhere from 95-106 degrees) to purify the body and help elongate the muscles while stretching.