Do Yoga and Fitness Go Together?

If your regimen consists of strength training and cardio workouts, should you add yoga to the mix? How does a yoga practice enhance your fitness routine?

Yoga has gained popularity over the last few decades for good reason. Its many benefits include stress relief, pain reduction, improved flexibility and better balance. A regular yoga practice can also help you in your fitness journey in several ways.

YOGA PROVIDES VARIETY TO YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE.

Adding 1 to 2 yoga classes each week will challenge your body and brain in different ways. Learning new poses and sequences will keep your workouts fresh and interesting.

YOGA REMINDS YOU TO BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR BODY

Being self-motivated and competitive may serve you well when your intention is to get fit. These traits enable you to stay on track and accomplish your goals. However, there are times when you need to slow down and simply enjoy the process. Let your yoga mat be the one place in your life when you are not competing with anyone – not even with yourself! Take the time to breathe. Be thankful for all the progress you’ve made and for the amazing things your body is able to do. You are more likely to stick with your fitness regimen if you are coming from a place of self-care instead of frustration and dissatisfaction with your body. It’s possible to have a positive attitude and be happy in your own skin right now, while at the same time work hard to improve your body and your athletic abilities.

YOGA HELPS INCREASE SELF-AWARENESS AND MINDFULNESS IN DAILY LIFE.

An intelligent yoga practice trains your attention. Over time, you become more attuned to the sensations in your body and more attentive to your own thoughts and emotions without judging them or wishing to escape from them. Becoming more self-aware will help you be more in tune with your body’s needs when it comes to exercise, nutrition and rest. When you are truly present, you are more mindful of what you put into your body and you are able to make better decisions regarding your own health and well-being.

There are many other long term effects of a consistent yoga practice. These are just some of the ways that yoga can complement your workouts. The key is to find a qualified teacher in the yoga style that best suits you. Keep an open mind and try a few classes online or at a local studio. You might just be surprised at the benefits you experience after a great yoga session.

 ***I wrote this article for the Front Door Fitness website and it was first published there a few months ago. FDF is a fantastic personal training company in the Kansas City area and I am proud to be part of their team. Check out the FDF blog for more articles on fitness and nutrition from my other colleagues.

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