To anyone unfamiliar with yoga, it might appear to be just another gym class. This ancient Eastern practice has, in recent years, been adapted by Western practitioners, who increasingly tend to focus only on the physical side of the practice.
Over the past decade, there has been a surge in the commercialised promotion of yoga, often taking place at gyms or other fitness centres. So it’s totally fair that you might consider yoga as just another form of exercise. But we’re glad to tell you that it is so much more than that!
In actual fact, yoga is an 8-limbed spiritual practice consisting not only of physical movement, but also of various ethical rules, meditation, and breath control.
Fitness vs yoga
The average aim, when getting into fitness is usually to strengthen the body. The release of endorphins after a workout gives that great uplifting after-gym mood and you can feel that from yoga too. While both fantastic to improve health and fitness overall, yoga takes this much further, incorporating a more holistic approach that looks at physical health as being only one piece of the puzzle in overall wellness.
Practising yoga in a spiritual capacity allows you to open your mind and free yourself from worries, from the day or your thoughts. It allows you to be with yourself and brings inner awareness that you wouldn’t usually find with your standard fitness class.
The combination of breathing exercise, meditation and asanas take the focus that to truly attain a balanced state, one needs to look further than just the physical body.
Unlike fitness, yoga can be practiced in stillness. It is made for each and every body, and it meets you wherever you are at.
Off the mat
An extraordinary part of yoga is the impact it can have on your life, off the mat. It instills a sense of mindfulness that allows you to be more focused, and reduces stress and anxiety. It opens the doors to a kinder, more understanding version of yourself.
Once you start to open yourself up to the full spiritual practice of yoga, you realise that you can create a much deeper connection with yourself and life in general.
So whether you come to the mat for fitness, or not, you’ll find that yoga has the ability to take things a little deeper! It is this unexpected depth and holistic approach that makes yoga so incredibly popular.
Is there anything we missed out? How do you feel that yoga differs from fitness? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts :)