5 Reasons Why Yoga is a Better Workout than the Gym
I’ve personally always loved to exercise. I discovered yoga in my early twenty’s and never looked back. I still go to the gym, and use the stair climber or lift some weights occasionally. I like adding in some strength training and cardio; but if I had to choose my favorite, I would always practice yoga. Yoga just feels amazing and has the ability to strengthen, stretch and take care of my entire body, mind and spirit.
If you’re new to exercise, or on the fence about what you should do, I highly recommend giving yoga a try. You can always still go to the gym; but yoga will definitely be a life long companion once you discover it.
5 Reasons Why Yoga is Better than the Gym
1. Yoga is for Everybody. Unlike lifting weights or running on the treadmill for hours, yoga can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. Everyone can do yoga, irrespective of their age or fitness level. It doesn’t matter where you do it and you can find a style that suits you. In fact, yoga is even good for children and adolescents, and helps with their self esteem. Unlike the gym which can be too stressful on their young bodies.
2. Yoga Reduces Stress. While exercise reduces stress, going to the gym can be quite stressful, with all the pressure to burn any extra fat and build more muscle. It can also be confusing what to do at the gym. People who do yoga regularly frequently report they live stress-free lives. Most of the time, people actually resort to yoga solely for its amazing capacity to reduce stress. There is no end result in yoga and you don’t have to judge yourself on any external gains. You will feel amazing!
3. Yoga Relieves Your Aches and Pains. People who use a treadmill every day or lift heavy weights are much more prone to injuries. Yoga shouldn’t cause any pain, as a matter of fact yoga helps you distinguish the difference between discomfort and pain. You use your breath to breathe through discomfort; but you never push yourself in to a painful position. Gym goers often push themselves too hard and end up with injuries. Yoga actually helps ease back and neck pain or discomfort you feel after having sat in front of your computer all day.
4. Yoga is Not a Competitive Sport. As if our lives were not stressful enough already, going to the gym adds to the general feeling of having to constantly compete with other people – and yourself. At the gym, our ego often pushes us to outperform the others by lifting heavier weights, doing more repetitions, or running longer distances. However, this is not the case with yoga. Yoga is a mindful activity where you only focus on yourself and not worry about what other people around you are doing. Yoga is not about competition, it is about mindfulness and peace. The yoga community supports you and helps you grow at your own pace and level.
5. No Equipment. To practice yoga, all you need is your body and your breath. You can use a sticky mat; but even if you don’t have one, a towel or carpeted area is fine. I will do yoga anytime and anywhere. You can even do yoga in a chair! Yoga is portable and easy to do even just ten or fifteen minutes a day. Once you know some basic postures, you can do perform them often and feel immediate results.
Yoga isn’t the end all be all; but it is pretty amazing. When you learn to link your mind and body through your breath, you move with ease and grace. Yoga is something you can practice for the rest of your life. Going to the gym can feel like a chore, yoga will always feel like you’re giving yourself a treat.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!