Of course, we all know the health benefits associated with yoga. It can reduce blood pressure, it can improve our mental health and it can also serve as great exercise for our bodies. But the question is, is yoga enough exercise? Does it give us all our bodies need?
I did hours of research on this topic, partly to impart the right information to readers but also because I’m curious, since other than dog walking, yoga is my main form of exercise, partly because my knee can’t handle much else and partly because the Graves disease and fibromyalgia don’t lend well to lots of activity. However, I also remain aware that with the fibromyalgia especially, it’s vital that I remain active. It’s kind of a chicken and egg situation: It hurts when I move but if I stop moving, the pain is worse.
Of course, this is a tricky subject to research because there are so many variables. On one hand, there are so many different varieties of yoga that the physical demands of each practice vary greatly. A Bikram yoga class obviously puts more pressure on your body than perhaps a gentle breathing yoga class. And certainly, I’ve sweated my way through my fair share of flow and power classes that pushed me to some physical limits and had me huffing and puffing like nobody’s business.
And on the other side of things are the physical and mental limitations of each yogi. Certainly, there are those who are more advanced than others and those who are looking to get something different from their practice. Some of us look for cardio whereas others are after more mental peace.
So, my conclusion: Sorry ladies and gents, there isn’t really one. Each person is different. Each body has different limitations. On top of that, there are so many different yoga practices, which all have something different to offer. At the end of the day, all we can do is keep our bodies moving and it’s my opinion that whatever keeps you active is worth doing. Would yoga be enough of a workout for a professional athlete? Of course not. But for this girl with the broken-down bod, yoga offers me the variety and activity I need to keep my body healthy. And that’s all the proof I need.