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There are many ways that yoga can affect a person’s life – mentally, spiritually, and physically. And with all the benefits yoga can offer, fitness may easily be the most known. In fact, we can say that fitness is something that we cannot remove in the practice of yoga. It is something that millions of people can attest to and studies even support this claim.
Pole fitness is a type of pole dancing using the pose as a piece of fitness equipment. It is a workout for the whole body that helps improve flexibility, muscle tone, posture, and body coordination. While it may seem that yoga and pole fitness are very different, there are many ways that the two are related.
For example, practicing pole fitness requires body strength, flexibility, and focus. These can also be obtained through the practice of yoga.
Through body improvement gained in yoga, it would be easier to hold and perform different poses on the pole. It would be easier to grip on the pole as well and prevent falling. Here are some poses that help improve core strength and flexibility:
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) – This is a good asana for strengthening the wrists, arms, and shoulders, and for improving the body’s sense of balance.
- Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose) – A pose that helps tone the muscles and strengthens the upper body.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – While this pose opens the heart, it also strengthens the spine and improves flexibility.
Strength training aims to build the overall strength of the body. The strength training routines in the gym include deadlift, squats, and other complicated physical body workouts. Many experts recommend doing yoga while building strength, just like in pole fitness, yoga is a good practice that compliments strength training.
Since strength training involves a variety of physical activities, yoga prepares the body to do these intense workouts by increasing flexibility and priming the muscles in the body. Through this, it would be easier to prevent injuries as well. Here are some strength-building poses:
- Navasana (Boat Pose) – This poses significantly help strengthen the abdominal muscles and the hip area.
- Utkatasana (Awkward Chair Pose) – Even with the regular Chair pose, the thigh muscles are worked up and improved. It is a pose that helps build strength in the body from the upper arms and back to the legs.
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose) – Most standing poses help strengthen the back to the core and the legs while improving balance and flexibility.
Cardio is one of the most popular workouts and it does not only focus on a few exercises. The exercises performed for cardio are essentially unlimited. They can include swimming, running, walking, cycling, and even dancing. The goal is to increase your heart rate, exercise the lungs, and improve blood flow and circulation. It is also a good way to burn calories and maintain weight.
Since this workout greatly involves the heart, it is important to have a healthy heart and lungs that can support this workout. While other types of yoga, such as restorative yoga, cannot be considered a cardio workout, certain types of yoga-like Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Power yoga will surely keep your heart rate up. Here are yoga poses to complement your cardio training:
- Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose) – A foundational pose in yoga that helps boost energy and strengthen the lower part of the body.
- Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing Split Pose) – A posture that will increase your stamina and strengthen your muscles. It also helps with building balance and improving flexibility.
- Sun Salutations – This series of yoga poses warms up the body and ignite the energy inside you. Doing this will get your heart pumping and prevent fatigue even after a long day of intense exercise.
Other benefits of Yoga on fitness
It teaches correct breathing. Breathing correctly is important in any sport or physical activity. The breathing techniques learned in the practice of yoga is very helpful in reducing anxiety before or during a performance. At the same time, it is a great way to improve focus. Since breathing techniques are integral in doing yoga, breathing correctly can easily become a habit.
It builds and improves core strength. Building the core strength is one of the key benefits asanas (yoga poses) offer. Core strength supports the posture of the body, and at the same time protects your backside. The stability and general strength of the body depend on core strength.
It helps improve balance. Balancing is important in holding different yoga poses and it does not only influence the physical body but the mind as well. Through yoga, the energetic body and physical body can maintain equilibrium.
It enhances flexibility and widens the range of motion. As people grow older, muscles and tendons become stiff, affecting the body’s movement and range of motion. Luckily, the poses involved in yoga stretches the body. Just like in balancing, many yoga poses require reaching other body parts or the floor. Flexibility, if not yet developed at the beginning of practicing yoga, will likely eventually improve after the body adjusts. Through frequent practice, muscle tension is released. New muscle memory is created and implanted into your body, increasing the range of motion as well.
Practicing yoga will not only benefit you physically but mentally and spiritually as well. Yoga is indeed a full-blown mind and body workout. Many scientific studies have recorded the benefits of practicing yoga, and for people who love intense physical activities, yoga is a good exercise to help condition your body and mind for these activities.
In conclusion, it is a great way to improve in a lot of aspects of fitness that will aid and improve other exercises. By combining the poses that help strengthen and stretch the body, you will work towards a healthier body that will be able to keep up with other physical workouts.