I received a nice email from a fellow blogger and yoga enthusiast after I posted a comment on her blog:
“Thanks so much for your comment on my blog yesterday. I don’t think anyone else who reads is a teacher, so I appreciated hearing what you had to say about the practice. I noticed a lot of options for modified (easier) poses in all the yoga classes I went to, or the teacher might say if you need to take a rest in child’s pose. I guess it just goes to show that more and more people are trying yoga and are at all different levels of fitness/ability. I think that’s a good thing :)”
The topic at hand was whether anyone can take yoga and “can you get a good workout”?
To answer the question: I usually have to structure my classes to be “one size fits all”. I take beginner/advanced beginner poses and then see how the class does…give them options to make it easier or more challenging.
On getting a “work out”, I think people need to start re-defining what that really means. Yoga can have mild calorie-burning effects, but it’s not really about just the CARDIO… it’s about strength, flexibility, mental focus, stress relief. it’s about total body integration and wellness.
Americans want to think they are losing weight, so gimmicks like “Hot Yoga” have been invented to please them. 🙂 they lose a couple pounds in water/sweat (until you replenish that water). I’m the last person to stand in the way if someone likes hot yoga and they get something out of it, but it can be dangerous for people to be that hot and they can get hurt by slipping on a wet, sweaty mat or by overstretching in a pose (under the assumption their muscles and ligaments are “more prepared” by being hot).
By the way, we all sweat a-PLENTY in my classes without heating the room!
Bouncing through a bunch of poses as fast as possible without taking the mental focus and time to truly experience the feedback your body gives you is not really my approach. 😉
I think yoga can enhance and compliment your performance in whatever your choice of classic cardio might be…for example, running. I still like to go to the gym and get some miles on the treadmill, and I’ve definitely noticed stamina in my legs has increased with strength poses like Warrior 3. I also have less muscle soreness and stiffness.
See our FAQ: http://www.chakra5.la/FAQ.html
to learn more about the benefits of yoga.