Is Yoga a Good Workout? Why You Should Dump the Gym

Yoga is being practiced by 37 million people in the US.

Workout sessions can help you lose weight and get healthy. Yoga in particular has been proven to increase flexibility, strengthen muscle tone, and improve your overall health.

Many individuals, though, wonder how it compares to traditional cardio and weight-lifting sessions.

Is yoga a good workout? Can it replace a regular trip to the gym?

The answer is yes. And here’s why.

1. It Gives You A Leaner Appearance

Yoga can increase fat loss, develop muscle tone, and build flexibility, leaning to a leaner-looking body.

Many programs involving free weights can add to your muscle mass. While you won’t always increase in width, it may not give you the slimmer appearance you are looking for.

When you are performing yoga, however, your body is the only weight you lift. Yoga will work on flexibility, balance, and relaxation. You will learn to breathe through the poses so strengthening your muscles will become easier and easier for you.

Power yoga is great if you are looking for muscle tone and fat loss. You can also try Bikram (or hot) yoga, which can help you burn calories as you sweat.

Yoga can also help you to appreciate your body for what it is and help you crave foods that are healthier and more life-affirming.

2. It Keeps You Free From Injuries

Yoga teaches you to work out with ease and pay attention to how your body is feeling at all times. You will not be encouraged to stretch yourself if you are in too much pain. In good yoga practice, each pose stretches your body and prepares you to move into the next position.

Some athletes practice yoga in order to prevent injury to themselves while they are practicing other sports. 

Poses like the standing forward bend, for example, can stretch your hamstrings and help you avoid knee pain. Reclining hand-to-toe poses can help prevent injury to the hips, thighs, and calves.

3. The Workout Is More Than Physical

Yoga avoids a mindset that focuses solely on your physical well-being. It relieves stress and improves your body’s awareness and concentration.

Yoga can improve symptoms of depression, hyperactivity, and sleep disorders. It can improve your mood and works to improve nerve function in those with anxiety disorders. 

Negative thinking patterns and frequent worries are common in those who suffer from panic disorders. Meditation, visualization, and breathing can help your body and mind gain a sense of ease. It will help you to develop a new way of thinking that does not concentrate on worry or fear. 

Yoga can lower your level of emotional arousal when something upsetting happens. If you become worried, you can meet your thoughts with presence and curiosity rather than panic. 

The relaxation responses encouraged by yoga may lead to immediate positive changes in immune function and energy metabolism.

Yoga actually changes the firing and distribution patterns of nerves and chemical messengers in your body. By concentrating on poses and holding them as you breathe deeply, your body can shift quickly into calmness and relaxation. 

Deep breathing will relax your brain, heart, and muscles. It will oxygenate your blood and reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. 

4. Yoga Benefits All Body Systems

Yoga poses can tone up your glands,  internal organs, and spinal nerves. The supported bridge pose, for example, is great for your spinal cord. A restorative child’s pose can help your nervous system.

Improved blood flow during yoga can help your digestive system to better extract nutrients from the foods you eat. It also helps your lymphatic system drain toxins from your body.

When you get stressed, gastrointestinal issues can cause constipation, bloating, and discomfort. Yoga can calm your mind and stimulate your digestive organs, helping you to focus optimally.

5. Yoga Improves Concentration

Yoga can affect the neural patterns in your brain, improving your ability to concentrate and focus. Yoga has been shown to improve speed, memory, and accuracy in those with sedentary lifestyles. 

Yoga can teach you to shift your attention, thus helping you to concentrate on purposeful tasks rather than worried or obsessive thoughts. It can increase your energy levels and decrease the presence of negative emotions. 

Yoga can help make your thinking patterns more positive and goal-oriented, improving your overall lifestyle.

6. Yoga Can Be Performed Anywhere

Gym memberships can become costly, and you may need to bundle up and go for a drive whenever it is time to work out. This can become a real deterrent for many.

Yoga, however, can be performed within the comfort of your own home or apartment. A simple video or online tutorial can bring you amicably through the poses. 

If you are self-conscious working out around others, yoga enables you to work out in privacy without having to invest in costly equipment like treadmills or elliptical trainers. 

7. Yoga Targets Core Muscles

Yoga targets your core muscles, leading to spinal health, digestive comfort, and a leaner middle. A stronger core also means that you will be less likely to sustain other injuries.

Your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles get strengthened by exercises such as the boat pose and planks, which engage the entire core from the ribs to the pelvic floor. Side planks will also engage the oblique muscles on the edge of the abdominal wall.

8. Yoga Is For Everyone

Hard driving aerobic exercises tend to favor those who are under forty and in fantastic shape. 

Yoga, however, can be practiced by everyone. If you’ve got a few extra pounds or suffer from health problems, yoga can be particularly beneficial.

Yoga can help improve flexibility and muscle tone if you haven’t worked out in a while. And you will not be running out of breath all the time.

Yoga can help prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone density. It can also improve your balance and flexibility, thus preventing falls and fractures. Yoga can decrease your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helping to keep calcium in your bones.

Yoga practice may also prevent cognitive impairment in the form of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Seniors can gain much of the same benefits from Yoga that all practitioners do.

9. Yoga Is Not Competitive

Some gym classes, such as spin or cross-fit, may make you feel as though there is a competition to perform better. You do not need to compete against anyone else’s time or performance with yoga. The focus is on you and your journey.

10. Yoga Can Improve Your Posture

The focus of many cardio and weight-lifting exercises is your speed and endurance, rather than your form.

Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. This can lead to pain and even arthritis.

By opening your hips, lengthening your back, and stretching your shoulders, yoga can help you to improve your posture on a daily basis. It is a great way to reduce the effects of our tech-heavy lifestyles.

11. Yoga Can Lower Your Blood Sugar

Yoga can lower your blood sugar and the levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol in your body. It can also increase your good cholesterol.

If you suffer from diabetes, yoga can lower cortisol and adrenal levels. This will encourage weight loss and get your blood sugar levels down. It will decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack or kidney failure.

12. Yoga Can Help You Sleep

Those with anxiety problems, in particular, may be prone to poor sleeping habits and insomnia

Meditation encourages an inward turning of the senses, which allows your nervous system to relax. This will encourage deeper, better sleep.

13. Yoga Can Make You Happy

Significant yoga practice can improve depression and lead to a significant increase in serotonin levels. It will decrease the stress hormone cortisol.

Yoga can help to quell the fluctuations of your mind, slowing down mental loops of anxiety, fear, and regret. This can decrease your risk of stress-related illnesses, including high blood pressure and heart attacks. A quieter mind can live longer and healthier.

Yoga can also help dieters by improving the spiritual and emotional areas of their life. They may become more conscious eaters. 

Yoga may also reduce tension in your limbs, inspiring a healthier lifestyle.

Is Yoga A Good Workout?

Is yoga a good workout? The answer is an emphatic yes. 

Yoga does more than stretch your limbs and help you burn calories. It works out your body, mind, and soul so that you are a healthier overall human.

For more information on yoga practice, read our blog today.