Do you thought Yoga is Just Stretching?

While on the way to spotting a friend of mine at the local YMCA, he asked why I wasn't just joining the gym and I explained to him that for my exercises I practice yoga and occasionally calisthenics at home and really didn't feel the need for a gym membership. His answer was predictable: "Yoga ... isn't that simply stretching? ”

I smirked at the familiarity of the query and went on to describe this article to him. As I said to him and to those who may not know otherwise: No, Yoga is much more than just stretching or getting into poses and positions that are apparently uncomfortable.

It is a mixture of stretching, breathing exercises, meditation and perhaps the most neglected limb, adherence to a healthy diet.

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means youghing or binding and is often interpreted as a "union" or disciplinary method. Its ultimate aim is to unite man in one breath with God or with the cosmos. It also aims to liberate the spirit as mentality and spirit are equally involved in its practice.

Yoga is also the world's oldest existing form of physical-culture. As well as being a systematic and scientifically validated road to physical health, it slows aging, rejuvenates and strengthens one 's appearance, retains suppleness and improves vitality and the creative part of life.

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With its main warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations (which are quite close to the calisthenic movement known as 'burpees'), poses the inversion, poses forward and backward bending, balance exercises for the arms and concentrating on the structure, the typical student can testify to the fact that Yoga can hold its own to achieve health.

Doesn't Yoga think building strength will help? Talk it over again. Heck, I challenge the most skilful body-builder to keep the easy but strong peacock-pose straight for 90 seconds. Bet you, in its execution they 'd crash half-way-if they make it that far.

Yoga often provides special breathing techniques that are great for patients with respiratory problems and also singers and speakers. However, with its distinctive relaxation posture, frequently performed before and after its execution, Yoga offers a comprehensive way of thoroughly calming the entire body like no other exercise can possibly do. (Remember, of course, that some poses offer a deep body massage not unlike those provided in the living rooms ... just thought I should throw it in.)

With countless books, DVDs, videos and classes available for all ages, fitness levels, and experience (some of which are actually free for the first few lessons to try out yoga), I suggest you give it a trial and see for yourself what it can do.

One thing I promise you is this; you're going to walk out of your class, and you're going to nod in agreement: "Yoga is much more than just stretching."

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