Yoga is a great way to find peace between the mind and body by getting us in certain postures that makes every part of our body feel better.
Now, yoga is a bit of an umbrella term, and there are many kinds of yoga exercises, but I’ll get into some general things that are worth being aware of when combining exercise with it. Everything I’m mentioning here relates to my experience, and yours may differ.
It’s frequently used in combination with meditation and the term is sometimes used interchangeably with meditation. But considering that many of the yoga practices achieve some form of relaxation, how well does it work with exercise?
Since exercise is meant to pump you up and get your heartbeat going, stimulating most of the muscles, yoga accomplishes a similar objective, but it’s less intense than a workout. Thus, it’s a great idea to combine yoga and exercise but not at the same time.
It’s a good idea if you wait 30 minutes between the practices. You can first start by doing yoga, and then exercise, as it will give the mind some time to transition from a calm state to an intense state, or vice versa, instead of doing an immediate shift.
Is Yoga Easier Than Exercise?
Yoga is both a mental and physical exercise to bring the mind and body together, whereas exercising and going to the gym is more of a strength and resistance training.
Now, depending on whether your goal is to lose weight, you might find more success with exercise, whereas if your purpose is to quiet the mind and put yourself in a relaxed state while doing so, you still reap some of the rewards you’d otherwise get from exercise, yoga would be good.
But that’s not to say that exercise can’t be as relaxing. But over time, exercise gets easier, the same can be said about yoga, the hard part in both is retaining the discipline to do one or another.
There really isn’t a clear winner, but if you want to take things one step at a time and aren’t keen on putting your body to the test at a high intensity, you might enjoy yoga more. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t exercise.
Now, exercise can be hard from a strength training point of view, so in that sense, I haven’t experienced yoga to be as hard since it doesn’t involve as much strength training as yoga does, so from that perspective, yoga seems easier, but that’s not to say that yoga can’t get intense for some.
Maintenance: Yoga vs. Exercise
Yoga is ideal if you already have your ideal body and want to maintain it. In a way, even if you are starting out yoga can be a way to build micro commitments towards exercise. Once you prove to yourself that you are able to stick to a routine consistently, be it yoga, meditation, or exercise, everything else falls into place.
Similarly, suppose you are exercising consistently, and need a way to relax your mind and body at the same time. In that case, you’ll often find the benefits of incorporating yoga in your day-to-day life in the sense that it can make your organs feel better by getting used to being in a proper posture for optimal well-being. Thus, making the exercise more effective.
The more yoga you do, the more good posture becomes second nature, and the easier the blood flows throughout the body.
Good circulation and posture are key to longevity and health only many can dream of, and fortunately, certain yoga poses already have it laid out for you.
If you start incorporating yoga early in your life, your future will thank you for it and it will be easier later on, as you get your body used to being flexible.
Similarly, if you start exercising earlier it’s easier to maintain it later down the line, as your mind already has an idea of what it’s like, and you won’t have a hard time reconditioning the mind as someone that’s just starting out.
I personally like to see yoga as meditation for the body, a physical kind of meditation, but meditation in itself and yoga can be done together, at the same time.
Both Yoga and exercise are great ways to boost mental strength. The physique you build will often reflect on your mind, and your belief system often stems from what you already are seeing physically.
The more yoga or exercise you do, the more energized you’re likely to feel and the more mentally strong you become. Mental strength will often show out and increase the times we do yoga or exercise, even when we don’t feel like it.
Now, once you get into the habit and get to experience the feel-good endorphins, you’re more likely to want to stick with it.
You could say that yoga is specifically tailored to the mind and body at the same time, as it’s meant to bring the two together, and the calmer you feel, the more likely you are to feel the byproduct that comes in the form of mental strength.
I used to do a very simple Yoga exercise 8 years ago, and ever since I had stuck to it, I had seen a significant boost in my cognitive performance that would often come in the form of clarity. I used to do something called the “Super Brain Exercise”.
It reminded me a bit of doing squats, but was by no means as intense. 2 minutes was enough to give me a significant boost, and that’s the good thing about yoga. Even if you’re on a busy schedule, you can still squeeze in an exercise or two that will often reflect in the performance of your work.
At some point, I thought it was a placebo effect, but after seeing countless testimonies and a sizable number of individuals vouching for it, I knew it wasn’t just me. The result?
My academic performance increased and I’d say that to this day, I attribute many of my high-performing academic successes to yoga and meditation. So if you want to start your day with peak clarity, both yoga, and exercise are great options.
With yoga, you can learn a certain breathing pattern that has your overall body feeling better and more energized.
It’s also a way to significantly reduce stress, and it’s not so strange, when you think about it, since many during stressful situations are prescribed to control their breathing – but never shown exactly how. But yoga does teach you to do it in a certain pattern so you’re sure to be headed in the right direction.
You can both do yoga and exercise from home, and both can positively stimulate blood circulation and your breathing, as well as be the difference between having an active, happy life and not having one.
One isn’t mutually exclusive from another, and even if it’s always preferable to do all the 3, meaning meditation, yoga, and exercise, even doing just one or two is enough for many.
Something I love about yoga is that you can easily get your feet wet with micro-commitments before you stick with it completely, but the same micro-commitments are often enough to see results both in the short term and the long term.
Now, when it comes to breathing, there’s a correlation between physical well-being and how you breathe. Since yoga has such a low barrier to entry and can be done virtually at any time, I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend the practice to, as many of the benefits you’d normally find in meditation can be found in yoga.