Often people feel there is a conflict between an adrenaline powered, iron pumping lift-til-you-drop gym workout and a deep breathing, body contorting and meditate-like-you-mean-it yoga session. Well, the news is, there is no conflict. In fact yoga can complement your gym workout.
Here are 10 reasons why gym goers MUST practice yoga:
1. Practicing some yoga postures before your workout reduces the risk of injury and loosens your body to start your gym workout. NO, this is not like any other stretch that you do before your workout. Yoga asanas have evolved after careful study of the human body and its alignment. So when you practice a posture, you’re not only opening up tight muscles, but correcting the alignment of your body, which may have gone haywire after years and years of slouching on a chair in front of the laptop…or carrying heavy loads, or cooking in a kitchen not designed for your height, or sleeping on the wrong mattress, or watching tv from the wrong angle…you get the drift.
2. Post a workout asanas will help you stretch your muscles. Asanas help the protective and connective tissue around all your muscles and muscle cells (called the fascia) grow. When the fascia grows the muscles encased in it have more room to grow. If the muscles experience this kind of freedom, then they achieve a better shape and help you look great as well.
3. If you’re one of those gym rats who can’t do without your daily gym workout and pump some serious iron then you’d do well with a post yoga workout to relax your nervous system and release all the tension that accumulates in the muslces during the gym training.
4. Often gym goers have a lot of stress stored in their bodies and very few outlets for stress release. Now I’m not talking about the kind of stress that makes you kick and punch extra hard (that’s just aggression, which can also be taken care of with yoga). I’m talking about the kind of stress that makes a permanent home in your muscles. The kind of stress that prevents you from truly relaxing and easing into a deep sleep. The kind of stress that gives you tight hamstrings, tight shoulders and that painful lower back. Ever seen a yogi try really really hard to kick up into the handstand, topple over and sit up smiling like a goofball (albeit radiantly)? Compare that to someone trying to lift that extra 5 kgs, and grunt in frustration when they can’t? I’m just saying….
5. Have you experienced muscle cramps after or during weight training and heavy lifting? A yoga session a few times a week could work to ease out muscle cramps and reduce the risk of reoccurence. Could that help you lift more and lift better? Think about it…
(To be continued in Why Gym Goers MUST Practice Yoga (Part 2)