Is Yoga a physical workout or just stretching?
I get asked this question a lot when people learn that I teach Yoga and that I have a daily Yoga practice. Obviously, if they ask if it is a workout then they have never done a Sun Salutation, or held a Chaturanga, for what seems forever. Yes, it is stretching in some poses, and yes Yoga can quiet the mind, but in different types of yoga, it is a full on physical and mental workout.
When I got started with Yoga years ago, it was because I wanted the "yoga body like Gwenyth Paltrow or the arms like Madonna, because in my magazine Yoga is how they got them...so I sought out Yoga classes in the area and, after taking various classes, my whole perspective changed.
Yoga not only strengthened my body but it also strengthened my mind. The first time I was able to do Crane pose, I had such a feeling of accomplishment, and at that point both my mind and my body knew that there was unlimited potential in my Yoga practice and it only made me want to work harder and go deeper into my practice (Sounds cheesy but it is an AWESOME feeling) I had pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do in Yoga. It becomes an "addiction" and it is why I love it. In Yoga, you can just let go, and be in the poses...focusing on the strength that they give you......mentally checking yourself in to those poses and seeing how far you can go. I do not compete with others in the class, it becomes a competition with myself...(it is who I am...competeing is in my blood, I can't stop it) It did, however, take me awhile to "stop the gerbil wheel to do list" in my head while practicing and just focus on the practice, but I am getting better....I am and always will be a work in progress when it comes to Yoga.
Your Yoga practice can be whatever you want it to be, everyone's is different. I am more of a physical workout personality, but that is what is so great about Yoga...it is your Yoga practice...
I completed my 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Therapist) course this last weekend and to say I learned a lot would be an understatement. This class was amazing...the teacher James Miller is phenomenal. His passion for Yoga and it's benefits is UNBELIEVABLE and I am so gracious and humbled that I was able to learn from him. He travels doing workshops, trainings, and festivals so if you ever have the opportunity, please join him in a Yoga class or workshop.