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Exercise…Yoga. Is there a difference?

60The other day someone asked me an interesting question, “How is yoga different from traditional exercise (a workout)? Is there a difference?” The short answer is “yes”. Yoga is very different from a workout but there are also similarities.

Yoga and exercise have many things in common and share some of the following benefits:

  • Improves strength and flexibility
  • Reduces stress levels, anxiety and depression
  • Increases sense of well being and happiness
  • Improves mood
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Combats health conditions and disease
  • Helps with weight contro
  • Increases energy levels
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Helps maintain brain function

 They both can be done in group classes, with friends, solo or with a private instructor and coach. And, just as exercise can be experienced in many forms (spinning, weight lifting, running, swimming, etc.), yoga has many different types and forms.

 When I first discovered yoga, I was exercising regularly and still do. Each one helps me stay fit just in different ways. With exercise, my awareness is more external. I am looking at the people around me, listening to music, thinking about my to do list. I am more competitive with myself and others. Exercise has more of a physical, external focus.

With yoga, I discovered that it started with a physical, external focus. But as I practiced my focus moved deeper, more internal.  That is the way yoga works.  It has a physical focus through the asanas (postures) but it goes deeper than that. The postures are the starting point. They are a tool for preparing the body and mind to sit for pranayama (controlled breathing) and meditation.

Meditation helps us to become more observant and more aware. One of yoga’s purposes is to reduce our misinterpretation and misunderstanding of people and events. It allows us to see more clearly and to observe ourselves and others in a  less judgmental way.

Yoga makes us more aware at the physical, mental and emotional levels. This deeper awareness is the great gift of yoga and the major difference between it and physical exercise.

 Enjoy and Breathe Easy

Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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