Yoga Complete Exercise & Health System?


#1

Yoga to me is an almost complete health & fitness system because in my opinion you really need to do cardio/aerobic training also e.g. running, x trainer, step machine, trampoline, etc.

[B]What does everyone else here think? [/B]

Many do promote it as a complete health & fitness system, way of life, etc but I know for e.g. one Yoga teacher that was previously a competitive runner and they say their cardio/fitness level is nowhere near where it was. Many Yoga teachers of course do lots of other things - cardio/aerobic exercise, weights, different sports, etc but there are many that do basically nothing but Yoga - is it enough for overall health without added cardio/aerobic training?

I’ve seen Yoga that is meant to be faster or more aerobic like Ashtanga but it really isn’t much faster nor is it going to improve you or push you cardio wise.


#2

There are a few instructors that get me out of breath from time to time but I do not consider myself someone who, in the past year, has had consistent cardio exercise. I do think yoga is all you need to be healthy but, as a male, I wish I knew more asanas that worked out my chest.


#3

I think it really depends on the person. I practice vinyasa flow yoga and did so consistently for 3 months and noticed a difference in my body. I was beginning to tone up and lose a little bit of weight. I was going about 5 days a week and my classes were and hour and fourty five minutes. I took a little month long hiatus because I hurt my back, went on vacation and got sick when I got back and just recently started again. Im trying to lose a little bit of weight so I just started incorporating running back into my routine (I used to run 4-5 days a week). I definitely prefer just going to yoga as much as possible though.


#4

It’s important to be aware that there are very many different ‘forms or schools’ of Yoga.

And these range from very gentle yoga classes which would not really ‘work out’ the body as such, and at the other end of the physical spectrum there are ‘ashtanga vinyasa’ classes where you will be sweating after 30 minutes and keep going solidly for 2 hours with dynamic flowing challenging postures.

If you would like to build up your chest (or at least strengthen and improve definition) then Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga classes may be where to start looking.

However, it is even more important to be aware of the more traditional forms of yoga, which do not pup port to be ‘fitness systems’ although, certainly fitness and health would be side effects through daily practice.

These traditional systems of yoga, aim to transform one’s whole being, lifting it out of animalistic desire and ego driven way of living, into a more enlightened heart centered awareness which is more loving, ‘caring of/for others’, peaceful, blissful and much more that goes beyond words.

These are very lofty aims and traditional yoga is a huge body of techniques and practices, and way of life and unfolds differently for each human being as they diligently follow the practices each day, and try to bring the true aspects of yoga into every minute of every day.

But if it’s fitness you are after, then maybe good to start with Ashtanga Vinyasa which is about 100 years old… which is probably old enough for most westerners to call traditional :wink:

And if you find a good ‘ashtanga vinyasa’ teacher who also practices meditation and the other limbs of yoga, then this can be a wonderful beginning to this ever changing and flowering path that each yoga practitioner under takes.

The whole conversation or subject area can become quite confusing, as the more traditional form of yoga is sometimes referred to as ‘Ashtanga yoga’ meaning the ‘8 limbs of yoga’ and this term was used by Patanjali approx 1000 years ago in his ‘enlightened description’ of the ‘yoga path’ which has been followed by aspirants for over 5,000 years.

But about 100 years ago, Krishnamacharya taught what he referred to as ‘ashtanga vinyasa yoga’ which was mainly a subset of the 8 limbs of yoga…(mainly 1 limb … asana) but weirdly coined the phrase ‘Ashtanga vinyasa yoga’ to describe it.

I can only hope that he was teaching this practice to young teenage boys in order to strengthen them physically, but also planting the seed in these young men that there are in fact 7 other limbs of yoga which ‘hopefully’ they would all follow.

Anyhow much of my musings here are only coming from a 50 years old :wink: and like any other human enmeshed in desires and un-enlightened existence… i can be wrong too :wink:

Best Wishes,
Dave


#5

Burren as I mentioned Yoga is almost there as a complete health system but cardio wise even doing faster paced Yoga sequences it is lacking. If someone has done purely Yoga for years, does a fitness/cardio test say against a runner, boxer, etc they are unlikely to even come close.

Your body can be incredibly flexible, toned, and low bodyfat whilst your cardio is weak and you run up a small flight of stairs and are out of breath. Many Yoga teachers don’t have strong cardio especially those doing mainly or exclusively Yoga; as I mentioned before - I know one Yoga teacher that was previously a competitive runner and they say their cardio/fitness level now is nowhere near where it was.

So I would say Yoga + add cardio running / step / trampoline / skipping, etc = complete fitness & health system. With cardio too you can do much more and push yourself harder in shorter space of time than you can with Yoga. 20 mins hard cardio on X trainer or Running Machine for e.g. doing interval training (HIT) say 1 min full speed then 1 min med speed repeat for the rest of the time, will do much more than an hour or two of Yoga practice - in terms of improving your cardio heart and lungs and fitness, as well as for bodyfat loss.


#6

Hi MindNinja,
Have you ever practiced ashtanga yoga for 2 hours?

Have your practiced first or second Series ashtanga yoga?

We need to be careful when discussing ‘yoga’ as to which form of yoga we are referring to.

Best Wishes,
Dave


#7

Burren ,

Yes I have it is not that tough, if you think it is you are not strong cardio wise. Even doing faster paced Yoga if it really hits you hard cardio wise as in you start breathing heavy, it is because either a) you are very unfit cardio wise or b) breathing incorrectly or c) combination of both.

No Yoga does movements that fast or in a manner that it is real aerobic exercise and going to hit you hard cardio wise. I’ve not really heard of any Yoga places claiming it can or even classes at fitness studios; you want to improve cardio and get tough aerobic workout go to Tae Bo, Spin, BodyPump, etc and forget Yoga.

Besides as I mentioned above - 20 mins hard cardio on running machine With cardio too you can do much more and push yourself harder in shorter space of time than you can with Yoga. 20 mins hard cardio on X trainer or Running Machine for e.g. doing interval training (HIT) say 1 min full speed then 1 min med speed repeat for the rest of the time, will do much more than an hour or two of Yoga practice. Even if you could get same workout cardio wise from Yoga when it takes hours more to get same results, why do it? Most people would rather spend 20 mins than a couple of hours exercising to improve cardio.

So I would say Yoga + add cardio running / step / trampoline / skipping, etc = complete fitness & health system. With cardio too you can do much more and push yourself harder in shorter space of time than you can with Yoga alone.


#8

Hi Mind Ninja,
This is Ashtanga yoga at

I am not sure what you were practicing if you say it was not strong :wink:

Please bear in mind this is 3 minutes… can you imagine 2 hours and then saying this is not tough ?

Is this what you were practicing?

I have been practicing yoga for over 22 years and i find this strong… but maybe you are right… maybe i am not as fit as you in a cardio vascular way.

Best Wishes,
Dave


#9

Burren,

Good video and it is not easy to do all those movements physically but cardio wise unless you are very unfit it won’t hit you hard or help you develop strong cardio such as running, step machine, cross trainer, skipping, etc.

Is someone healthier if they have stronger cardio + do Yoga with all the benefits that it brings than someone who does purely Yoga? Can vary from individual of course but answer is Yes!


#10

I believe that when people promote yoga as a complete system of health, they are not referring to physical fitness in the modern western sense. They are referring to yoga as a system of holistic health, encompassing mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness as well as physical.


#11

I have been attending my hatha hot yoga class 4-6 days a week for about 7 months. I have also been long distance runner for 10 years I have trouble giving running up so I don’t. I also strength train with weights 2-3 hours a week along with surfing.
I have never felt so great and so challenged. Yoga is my most challenging work out. I believe having a balance of yoga and other cardio and strength training is ideal for everyone. surfing weight training and running help my yoga practice I have less expectation and more balance.


#12

After smoking pot for a year (which rocked my lungs) with no cardio, followed by a year of consistent asana practice (hot yoga for the first chunk). I rode twenty miles on a road bike with a former trainer for the Stanford cycling team and had no problems keeping up.

I wouldn’t consider yoga to be a cardio workout most of the time. I would not however underestimate the times that it is as well as the effects of certain postures and pranayama on the lungs. I can quite easily run up a flight of stairs breathing only through my nose and not be winded.

Burren, that video is ridiculous! Perhaps someday I can get even close to this guy. I recently purchased an ashtanga intermediate book from a closing Borders but the studio I am currently practicing at does not offer it.

No proofreading done.


#13

I’m glad to hear that others consider it a complete physical workout too. I also did cardio and strength training for years before taking up yoga, but don’t really have too much to compare because I do only a fairly modest yoga routine these days. A lot of people do yoga routines that last for 1.5 hours or longer, so there is definitely an endurance component. I think a lot also depends on the individual. I purposely do not permit my heart rate to get too fast during yoga, but I can see that some of the routines could be comparable to a cardio workout if I allowed them to be.


#14

True cardio work means any kind of exercise that brings you very close to your maximum heart rate by engaging large muscle groups in the body. I cannot see that happening during Yoga. Doing a challenging series of asanas will definately get your pulse up ( and naturally do a whole lot of other things for your body too ) but it will not get you within a few beats of maximum pulse. If you want to accomplish that you need spinning, running or something of that nature.
AlbaRose


#15

[QUOTE=MindNinja;54673]Yoga to me is an almost complete health & fitness system because in my opinion you really need to do cardio/aerobic training also e.g. running, x trainer, step machine, trampoline, etc.

[B]What does everyone else here think? [/B]

Many do promote it as a complete health & fitness system, way of life, etc but I know for e.g. one Yoga teacher that was previously a competitive runner and they say their cardio/fitness level is nowhere near where it was. Many Yoga teachers of course do lots of other things - cardio/aerobic exercise, weights, different sports, etc but there are many that do basically nothing but Yoga - is it enough for overall health without added cardio/aerobic training?

I’ve seen Yoga that is meant to be faster or more aerobic like Ashtanga but it really isn’t much faster nor is it going to improve you or push you cardio wise.[/QUOTE]

I totally agree. I have yoga as part of a health and fitness lifestyle. Your NOT going to develop cadio (or even just establish an aerobic base) using yoga, and your not going to adequately improve strength and muscle size using yoga.
You can even see the difference in the physiques of people who do yoga as well as cardio and weights, they look fantastic, and then look at people who do yoga only. They are often flabby and out of shape. Yoga is going to open up your body and keep it loose and lubed, and mediation with clean up the mess in your mind and reduce stress.
Yoga is certainly a great part of a healthy lifestyle, but inadequate as a fitness system in itself… unless you did hundreds of dands (hindu push ups) and Bethaks (hindu squats)… but I’ve been assured that this is not considered yoga.


#16

I think you need to put it into perspective. If you’re training for competitive sports or contact sports, no, yoga alone is not going to do it for you. You will not get the same kind of muscle definition or strength or mass. But that kind of conditioning isn’t necessary for the maintenance of good health. Neither is cardio training near maximum heart rate. 75% - 80% of maximum is plenty. A good ashtanga or power yoga routine should be able to get you into that range, especially for older people or people who have never trained hard.


#17

Yoga to me is an almost complete health & fitness system because in my opinion you really need to do cardio/aerobic training also e.g. running, x trainer, step machine, trampoline, etc.
Well then you’ve clearly expressed an opinion and that is certainly your right. The question of the matter, when it comes to opinari, is not the conclusion but rather how the conclusion was reached. By definition an opinion is subjective and is not founded on proof or certainty.

I try to avoid opinion when it comes to yoga thus separating my tastes, preference, or flavor of the day in favor of the precepts of yoga which have been framed long before me.

What we know is that our method for living has changed. It has changed in that we are not typically doers in our living. In other words, we had ample activity in our history but now must make activity in order to move. And of course movement, just like rest, is a critical component in human wellness.

We also know that wellness has a variety of definitions. Ask someone with lean muscle mass and the ability to run a 4 minute mile how their elimination and digestive functions are and you may have a contrasting picture. Ask someone who can do 40 reps of #350 on the bench how their liver is functioning and you may have a contrasting picture. We so often only look at topsoil.

When it comes to heart health there are ways in the practice of yoga to bellows the heart and work it toward health. And there are two basic ways - the first again is the topsoil; surya namaskar, vinyasa, ashtanga, heat, rapidity et al. This is the world of low V)2 Max. However a deeper look at a robust yoga practice indicates there are other ways the heart is “worked”. We see only what we look for.


#18

Too much emphasis on cardio. Running. Marathoning. can be counter productive - even destructive.

[B]Walking however is great.[/B]

I try to take a regulated approach to things. a moderate approach to activity. Not too much. Not too little.


#19

Ashtanga is definitely a cardio workout. And yoga is a complete physical, mental, and spiritual workout - why else are we all here?


#20

Actually it’s a “work in” not a work out.