The Difference between Practicing Yoga and Going to a Gym
A Gym is a place where many people go to use weight machines and increase their physical strength. Yoga is a set of physical, spiritual, and mental practices that support a person in living a healthy and happy life. Both prevent chronic disease and improve mental wellness. Yet, Yoga is more versatile and accessible than a gym practice. Doing both is possible and many gyms offer yoga, know that both demand time and dedication. Here are some comparisons to support you in deciding which suits you best.
Stress is a leading cause of heart disease. Most people live in a constant state of movement and in a consistent state of fight or flight. The environment is a major factor in increasing or decreasing one's feelings of stress. Yoga studios offer stress-free environments with low lighting, faint scents, and calming music. Even though there are several types of yoga, you can expect meditation or savasana in class. This supports calming the mind, deep breathing and relaxing, thereby reducing stress. And, in a yoga studio, there are relaxation and slower-paced classes offered in the schedule. The Gym, typically, is a quicker-paced scenario with bright lighting and loud music. There are often lots of people and many noises, including weights clanking, grunting noises, and talking. Quite often, if a gym offers yoga classes, they are faster-paced.
Many people are very disconnected from their bodies, they spend more time in their heads. This usually results in injury and/or low self-esteem. Many yoga studios do not even have mirrors. The teacher's cues encourage students to bring their attention back into their bodies. They are then able to feel what the poses feel like in their bodies. This brings them back to a physical relationship with an appreciation for what their bodies can do. Gyms have mirrors for the person to see their alignment, eliminating the step of feeling. With mottos like, "no pain, no gain" and "push through the burn", a gym setting can encourage the person to stay in their mind. Thus, pushing the limits of their bodies, not being good enough and always striving for more. As well as increasing their chance of injury.
Yoga classes offer all types of intensity, from crazy, fast-paced to barely moving. Thus, if you ever thought you couldn't get a work out in class, attend a different class. Yoga uses one's body weight for core and muscle strengthening, thereby working out the whole body. And, all one needs to practice is their body, making it easy to practice anywhere. Yoga also offers all different levels, making it attainable to any weight, sex, age and more. Opposingly, the gym uses weights and machines for a similar outcome. This means the muscles are worked separately, which often takes longer to tone. And because working out requires equipment, it isn't as accessible by any means - location, age, weight, etc.
These are but a few comparisons between the gym and yoga. Both practices offer benefits to the person and only the person can decide. Take the time to experience both for yourself, but make sure to try all the options offered in Yoga. Yoga offers work to the mind, body, and soul, holistically working on the entire being. Every busy-body needs a time out, and every sedentary person needs some action.
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