Classic Yoga principles are built on the three main structures of exercise, breathing, and meditation. Exercise and breathing prepare the body and mind for meditation, allowing us to approach a quiet mind that allows healing from everyday stress. Through yogic exercises that bend and stretch the spine, fresh blood and nerve flow revitalize all the major glands and organs.
Unlike other forms of exercise, which develop fitness by stressing the body, yoga builds strength and endurance while lowering the stress hormones that age us. Unlike fitness workouts that work on individual muscles or groups and increase strength and stamina, Yoga affects the complete body and mind and triggers a positive holistic outlook on the physical, mental, spiritual plane of existence.
Yoga is a low impact routine of flowing asanas and breathing techniques that helps loosen up your back, joints, and gives you a good cardio as well, unlike running which is hard on your back and joints. Yoga helps your body build just enough strength, and more importantly flexibility, enough to carry your own body weight efficiently. You don’t need to lift weights and build more than what is needed and also cause ligament damage and fractures in the process. It’s non-combative and non-competitive focusing more on yourself rather than bettering or beating someone’s record. It’s a pure form of listening to your body needs and gently, increasing mental control, easing into poses, avoiding painful ones, gradually building from the ground up. It’s not a race to reach there but a long term practice of staying in perfect harmony with what your body needs to heal itself.
In fact yoga trains us to just do what is good for the body, increases flexibility of joints and tissues, improves balance and helps our awareness when we undertake any sports, fitness regimes or outdoor activities. We know how much we can push our body safely and without injury and to not push beyond our limits. If you participate in sports of any kind increased flexibility and balance are keys to improve performance.