Yoga is simply the best secondary exercise that there is.
If you’re looking for a fit and toned body that looks good, and if you want total health that includes both mental and physical health, you simply cannot beat yoga.
Why you should add yoga to your workout routine
So you’ve been running, or cycling, doing cross-fit, or maybe pumping that iron at the gym. And you want to know what the best alternative exercise is to compliment your routine.
There is one alternative exercise that is perfect for any exercise combination. That exercise is yoga.
For starters, you should always exercise both your exercise and your mind (tai chi is a good option).
Here’s why you should add yoga to your workout.
For starters, yoga will undo the damage done to your muscles and ligaments in other forms of exercise.
Whatever exercise you’re doing I’m willing to bet you’re putting a considerable amount of strain on certain parts of your body (knee problems are one of the most common)
Let’s say you’re hitting the gym and lifting weights every other day. Now, lifting weights is good for cardio and of course it is excellent for muscles strength. But lifting weights also puts a lot of strain on your muscles and your ligaments. Lot’s of people who lift weights lose flexibility because of the strain put on their body.
It’s the same with other forms of exercise. Cycling, running, MMA…the vast majority of exercises put a lot of strain on your body.
This is where yoga comes in as the best alternative or secondary exercise.
Yoga helps your muscles to stretch and to relax and also improves your flexibility.
It undoes a lot of the damage that’s done from other exercises. So when you add yoga to your exercise combination you get the best of both worlds. You get fitness without the injuries that sometimes come with it.
Yoga exercises your mind-body
While you’re exercising your body you should also be exercising your mind. That’s one reason the absolute best thing you can do after any exercise is to meditate–you’ve worked out your body, workout your mind
All exercises do exercise your mind and brain to a degree.
Your mind will always be healthier when backed by a healthy body. But some exercises are better for the brain than others.
Dance is a great example. Dancing is absolutely fabulous for your brain. It is arguably the single best exercise you can do for your brain, boosting your coordination, releasing feel-good brain chemicals. That’s why I included dancing in my list of the best hobbies for mental health.
Yoga also exercises your mind and brain.
When you practice yoga you’re often also meditating. At least, you should be meditating, though many modern forms of yoga downplay meditation because it’s simply not as marketable as the physical benefits of yoga.
When you practice yoga you heighten your mind-body connection, which helps you to relax and also boosts happiness levels and relaxation levels.
Yoga is a great exercise to do between your main exercise
If you’re pushing yourself too hard in the gym and getting sweaty you will notice an elevated heart-rate and you may also experience muscle cramps.
The best strategy here is to take a break to let yourself relax, to return heart-rate to normal and to help your muscles cool down.
But as you will have noticed in most exercise videos, it is always better to stay a little active while taking these rests. What better way to stay active than to practice yoga for ten minutes between your main exercise?
When you practice yoga between your main exercise you will keep you heart-rate at a healthy level and you will also be helping your muscles to stay warm while alleviating any tension.
Next time you practice your main exercise take a ten or fifteen minute break in the middle and practice yoga.
Yoga is also the best thing to do after your main exercise
So you’ve just worked out for two hours. You’re sweaty. Your muscles feel sore. But you know that it’s not good to just stop all of a sudden. You need that cool down period and you need to stretch your muscles.
Turn to yoga.
You probably already do some yoga-type stretches after working out anyway, right? Continue it. Continue your stretching into twenty minutes of yoga. This will relax both body and mind and will leave you feeling simple fabulous after your workout.
Yoga is an excellent exercise for both men and women
Guys, a lot of you might think that yoga is not the macho thing to do. You’ve just been pumping iron for an hour and now you’re going to get down into Downward Dog in yoga pants? That’s not cool.
I honestly wish more guys did yoga.
Yoga is still considered a slightly effeminate form of exercise, which is disappointing because yoga is excellent for everybody, male and female alike.
Also, guys tend to put more strain on their muscles during exercise.
You’re trying to work those guns, right? But those muscles get sore and they need some help to relax. And that’s where yoga can be your best friend. So pump your iron, work your muscles, then use yoga to relax.
Of course, you can also use yoga for strength training. I personally do a core-vinyasa yoga workout three times a week, which is excellent for muscle tone.
And besides, yoga girls, am I right, guys?
And that is why yoga is simply the best secondary or alternative exercise that you can possibly do. Yoga is a great compliment to any exercise combination. Now go on, let me see your Taraksvasana.
Did you know: Yoga is only one of many meditative exercises
Technically, you can do any exercise while meditating.
Read my guide to movement meditations for more on this.