Yoga fitness is one of the modalities of this ancient practice based on stretching. It combines sequences of asanas with traditional exercises to gain flexibility, endurance, and balance while strengthening and toning the muscles.
The objectives of yoga fitness transcend the overall well-being of body, mind, and spirit. It’s recommended for those who are experienced in the conventional method and want more intensity.
The poses are adapted to an individual’s physical condition, always with the intention of avoiding discomfort or pain. Throughout the workouts, you gain agility and master the technique. The AARP Foundation emphasizes that the only requirement for yoga is breathing, so the difficulty of some positions should never deter you from trying yoga.
How do you practice yoga fitness?
One way to practice yoga fitness is to include it as a stretching routine at the beginning or end of your workout to strengthen your legs, buttocks, arms, and abdomen. You can also do just yoga fitness with asanas adapted to your needs.
Based on the above, you can also choose poses to help with your physical conditioning. For example, if you’re a runner, you can warm up and stretch with poses oriented to the legs, while cyclists should do extensions that enhance their lung capacity.
The main benefits of yoga fitness
A publication by the Yoga Journal states that this ancient discipline relieves pain, improves circulation and breathing, regulates the nervous and endocrine system, helps control weight, provides cardiovascular conditioning, and aids in the development of consciousness.
It also offers other health benefits, such as the following:
- Integral preparation: Yoga fitness works on both standing and mat exercises coordinated with deep breathing for a total workout.
- Improves your mood: The physical results translate into more joyful attitudes, as you feel more at ease with your body.
- Reduces stress: Practicing yoga calms worries and anxieties, thanks to movements that relax, allow you to concentrate, and give a sensation of peace.
- Yoga fitness helps provide flexibility: While you work on toning your muscles, you also gain elasticity.
Recommended poses in yoga fitness
Next, take note of the suggested poses to get started in the practice of yoga fitness. Always start small and execute the movements with precision.
The tree pose
- To do this pose, spread your feet hip-width apart.
- Then, shift your weight to your left foot and move the sole of your right foot to your opposite ankle.
- Your right knee should turn outwards. Then, slide your foot down your left leg, stopping when it’s close to your groin.
- Your gaze should be straight ahead, and you can keep your balance with your arms up, to the sides, or by placing your palms together on your chest.
Downward facing dog
- Kneel on a mat and stretch your arms out, bringing your torso forward. Support yourself with the palm of your hand and fingers. Push yourself up with your toes, lift your hips and stretch your legs.
- Shift your weight to your feet and bend your knees slightly if you need to. Keep your balance on your toes.
- Stay in this pose for 1 to 3 minutes and close it by touching the floor with your heel. During the downward facing dog pose, relax your neck, lengthen your back and breathe slowly.
- Start with your feet under your hips, side by side. Then, take one leg back and bend the front leg so that this knee is over the heel.
- The feet are flat on the floor. Raise your arms towards the ceiling and relax your shoulders.
- Without arching, repeat six times for 30 seconds each time.
The boat or navasana pose
- Sit with your legs bent and your hands on the floor, next to your thighs. Inhale and bring your hands behind your hips with your fingers pointing toward your feet.
- Open your chest, contract your abdomen, and straighten your knees so that your feet are at eye level.
- Then, stretch your arms out in front of you, palms open and pressing on your sternum. Exhale and come out of the pose by relaxing your feet.
The boat asana strengthens both the abdomen and legs. It’s also associated with good digestion and reduction of body fat.
- To do these, stand up straight. Lift your right leg and take a wide step forward.
- Raise your arms to the sky and perform a high lunge. Contract your abdomen, lower your tailbone, and bring your left heel back as you sink your hips.
- Hold for five gentle breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Ardha matsyendrasana or half twisting pose
- Straighten your legs and sit up straight.
- Bend your left leg and cross it over your right leg, trying to touch your right buttock with your foot.
- Put your left arm over the bent leg and your right arm behind it.
- Breathe in and turn your torso to the right. Exhale and turn forward with your spine.
- This is a good pose for lumbar flexibility and lateral muscle tightening.
The corpse pose or savasana
- Lie on your back, spreading and straightening your legs. Touch your heels to the floor.
- Open your arms with your palms facing upwards.
- Breathe in, hold and breathe, lifting your chest and stretching your neck. Your aim is to relax the whole body.
- In an upright position, raise your left leg backward and lower your arms to touch your right ankle.
- The idea is to keep your balance with your left leg as high as you can.
- Perform all repetitions with slow, even breaths.
The bow pose
- Lie on your stomach, forehead to the floor, and bend your knees toward your buttocks.
- Reach your arms back to grab your feet. Make your big toes touch.
- Inhale, lift your torso and pull your feet back and up to form an arch.
- Breathing softly, find a point of relaxation to prolong the posture.
General tips for getting started with yoga fitness
Always start with low-intensity poses. Then, gradually increase the intensity and close with the corpse pose.
When it’s your first time, let the instructor know, so the workout is adjusted to your level. Interest in learning and commitment are key to progress.
Also, you will do better in the discipline if you follow recommendations such as the following:
- Wear appropriate clothing. The goal is to facilitate smooth movements. Also, don’t wear socks or gloves so your hands and feet can grip the mat or floor properly.
- Use the proper accessories. It’s necessary to have a mat, blankets, straps, and anything else that may be indicated by your instructor.
- Hydrate before, during, and after doing yoga. Drink water rather than soda or soft drinks.
- Wait at least one hour after eating to do yoga. It’s best to do the asanas when your stomach has already digested heavy food.
- Be punctual. Arriving ten minutes in advance to lasses will ensure you a place close to the trainer.
Remember the importance of a yoga instructor
When getting into yoga fitness, it’s crucial to have the guidance of an accredited instructor. With their help, you release the tension in your limbs as you adopt the poses.
Qualified trainers belong to institutions such as the European Yoga Union or associations of yoga teachers. Set your goals with them and enjoy the fitness mode of yoga while understanding it’s a practice that aligns body, mind, and spirit.