Yoga as a Form of Exercise

Yoga is a type of exercise that involves out of the ordinary physical poses, ideally meant to be held steady for long periods of time. Philosophically speaking, yoga is a way to help cleanse and develop the body, urging it to become stronger and more tone. The idea behind this was that a practice such as yoga promotes and would aid the body in sitting through meditation. Considering the poses are not meant to accelerate your heart rate, you may not actually lose any weight at all, but just gain the intended muscle instead.

YogaIn 2005, the American Council on Exercise commissioned a study that was conducted on the grounds of the University of Wisconsin to see just what, if any, the benefits to yoga were. After months of classes three times a week, the study found that yoga did indeed improve the flexibility, balance, endurance, and muscle strength of the subjects.

Intermediate levels are quickly introduced to poses that force all of your weight onto just your arms, which greatly impacts the muscle strength and overall endurance. However, when the study concluded, no aerobic benefits were apparent at all; which is to say that the maximum heart rate of each test subject showed no significant change.

Yet there is always an exception to the rule. Since yoga has spiraled across the nation, rapidly gaining popularity, all new forms are popping up at random, guaranteed to be more vigorous than the last! For those that are still fans of the home DVD workout, many physical trainers are coming out with videos that combine fun and fast moving exercise with the flexibility-encouraged yoga routines and most can be done within 20 minutes!

Certain existing styles of yoga such as Ashtanga or Bikram are formed around the same philosophical bases as yoga was intended to be, but involve burning calories, which translates to losing weight. Bikram is a particularly intense form of yoga; invented by a man born in India and brought to the United States in the early 1970s. The routine involves 26 poses meant to get blood flowing through each part of the body.

Bikram YogaIf authentically practiced, Bikram is done in a room that has been heated and remains at 105 degrees. The belief is that this will encourage the body to become more soft and flexible while releasing all of the toxins through sweat from the movement. In fact, the Bikram Hot Yoga Studio located in Houston, Texas claims that practicing yoga in a heated room allows the body to move into a deeper pose without as much worry of injury.

If the fast paced exercise from treadmills or elliptical machines has you stuck in the same old aerobics rut, try incorporating yoga into to it. Working out does not just have to mean physically if it can clear your mind, too!

About the Authors: Joyce G. is a professional blogger and currently partners with Nordictrack. NordicTrack has come to symbolize the means for serious athletes and fitness-buffs alike to “get ready for adventure,” whatever that may be. Visit our website to find the best Treadmills

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