All movement of the body is great – after all you need to move to maintain flexibility and strength in the body for starters. It also helps the mind to get clearer – one of the keys to your body feeling a lot more ease.
I’m not a runner but I know lots of runners who say that their sport allows them to go into the “zone” and when they are they in the zone they feel like they can run a lot easier and further etc etc. It is the same in yoga when you obtain that mind / body connection you can experience a lot more ability and ease in the body.
But what then is the main difference with yoga? Once again it is a massive subject but in the context of this post if you check out the page on this website (bikramyoga.je if you are on Facebook) about Bikram he boldly states:
“ Yoga is the only exercise on this planet from which you gain energy instead of burning energy. ”
He also went on to explain in class that consistent sport can wear down (or even damage) parts of the body after a long period of time or if there is a repeated action on one side of the body such as in tennis etc. Some sports can also create a lot of tightness in certain areas of the body. If you are an athlete you will probably relate to some of this!
So what does Bikram mean by that and what is the difference with yoga? It is that yoga works from the inside of the body to the outside not the other way round. Every yoga posture (in the Bikram Yoga series at least) will work the spine – the “backbone” of your body – the “backbone” of your life in fact! It has a knock on effect on your glandular system and therefore the organs and so it goes on! Without a healthy spine, many parts of the body would be compromised not only physically but internally too. Together with the brain, the spine forms the body’s nervous system which is essential for maintaining mental and emotional health which in turn is a major contributor to bodily health. Suffice to say the spine is the centre of your body and it affects every other part. With regular practice of yoga you will begin to realise that everything is linked and yoga is therefore is a “wholistic” method of exercise and also a completely natural type of “medicine” so to speak!
So what does that mean – you shouldn’t do sport? – of course not – I’m a great believer in doing what you love as that in itself is a major reason to do it! However it may be a good idea to incorporate a regular yoga practice to counteract the wearing down of tissues and the muscle damage that can occur.
Yoga is actually a “generator” of your body and does not deplete it or wear it down – it actually rejuvenates and can even reverse and at least halt the aging process. This subject is my favourite of course but it will need a few more posts to talk about that! It’s all about that “life force” (and more importantly what you do with it) that I mentioned in my earlier post.
I hope this explains at least a bit so you if you don’t like sport or normal fitness classes OR if you love it and want to stretch out and repair the body you may wish to give yoga a go!