Of all the research and our own trial and error work over the years, there is no other anaerobic form of exercise (that everyone can do), that gives us so much more than just exercise, i.e. regular Ashtanga Yoga practice saves a lot of time. It is a fantastic exercise but it is also detoxing for both the mind and body, making us not only more muscular, flexible, calm and mindful, but actually more intelligent too. Yes! A good yoga routine makes us think clearer as the neurons communicate better through the synapse. Imagine you have to go to classes or gyms to get all of this separately. That would take a lot of time!
Yoga correctly done involves using body doing Asanas, postures, to reach a meditative or mindful state of mind. It gives you a connection with your body that will start a form of ‘communication’ that very few other exercises offer. That is why most yogis are also very healthy. When you practice it regularly you will start noticing what you need to feel good. Over all the years in which I have taught yoga, I have never had any student that continues smoking after starting with yoga, even if they were convinced they couldn’t stop. Something happens and it is as if the body finally gets through to us.
But!…it has to be the right form of yoga. There are right ones and not so right ones, although I would say it is probably better to do any form of yoga than none at all. It is clear that it has become a ‘fashion’ word and as such a bit abused and twisted. The other day I saw a gym offering ‘Spinning Yoga’. I guess I don’t have to explain why I don’t think yoga can be done while spinning. There are also a lot of good derivatives using yoga postures, such as Pilates. Find what appeals to you, or should I say, who appeals to you, meaning that the teacher is key. If you don’t get a loving and good vibe, find a new teacher.
What we mean with a good yoga is the original idea of what yoga is. That’s why we teach Ashtanga Yoga, as described in the Yoga Sutras, the ancient Vedic texts. Weather you are in NY, London or Tokyo, I think Ashtanga is often a good indicator of a ‘correct’ yoga if you want to check it out in your area. There are other interesting forms of yoga but this form gives an ‘all-in-one’ benefit and saves so much time. That is what we interest our busy clients with. We mean that even if we live a busy life we can always be very healthy.
If you don’t have time to do anaerobic and aerobic exercise and meditate and do breathing exercises everyday, you can do a few Sun Salutes in the morning, and you will notice a vast difference after a few weeks. If you can use the breathing techniques doing so, you even get the aerobic exercise you need, benefiting your cardiovascular and respiratory system better. Tomorrow I’ll write more about what the non-exercise part of yoga is and how to know if a teacher is a good one.