Is Yoga Enough or Do We Need an Additional Workout?
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I love doing yoga – since around 10 years now – but at the same time I always loved / and still love to workout, to go to the gym, for a run or do any other exercises. It’s not the first time, that I faced the question, if yoga is enough. I already had plenty of conversations with people of different movement backgrounds, so here I want to discuss the topic again.
What Do We Need for a Healthy Body and Mind?
Before answering the question if yoga is enough, let’s have a look first on what the body and mind needs to be healthy and balanced. There are 7 primary movements or fundamental human movements, natural motions of the body, on which we should pay attention to stay fit.
1. Pulling motion: to pull an object towards the body or the body towards the hands, e.g., you hang on a tree and pull yourself up.
2. Pushing motion: to push an object away from our body or our body away from our hands, e.g., you fall down and you need to push yourself up again.
3. Squatting motion: to bring the hips closer to the heels and away again, e.g., you jump up or down an object.
4. Lunging motion: to step one leg far to the front and bring it back in again, e.g., you catch something need to make a step to the front/back/side.
5. Bending motion/ Hip-hinging: to bend down forward and coming back to standing, e.g., you pick something up.
6. Rotating/ Twisting motion: to rotate or twist the body, e.g., you throw something, also walking/running requires a twist in the torso.
7. Gaiting motion/ locomotion of the body: to walk or run, to spring, to crawl, e.g., you move long distance/ endurance.
Now we know, what’s important to balance out the body in a physical way, just to mention, besides of the usage of the primary movements it becomes more and more important in our society to also train the mind, to learn to calm down the mind, to reduce stress and anxiety.
Where Do We Find the Primary Fundamental Movements in Yoga?
Most of the fundamental movements are easy to find in a yoga practice. We have Chaturangas when we push ourself away from the ground – pushing motion, squatting motions in a Utkatasana, chair pose as in Malasana, deep squat and other poses. There are a lot of lunging motions in a yoga class in different varieties, Virabhadrasana, warrior poses, crescent lunge… and depending on the class and the teacher, they vary between dynamic repetitions or static holding. Of course, we always find twisting movements in different poses and in each sun salutation we do the hip- hinging/ bending motion, when you get up from Utthanasana, a full forward fold into a half forward fold and all the way up.
But now there are two movements missing, the pulling motion and the gaiting motion.
In a pulling motion we need the muscles on our back, like the latissimus, trapezius, the rhomboids, as well as the posterior deltoids and the biceps to pull oneself up. And even though we control the back muscles in Shalabasana, in the superman pose on the ground, there is not pulling motion in yoga, except you practice aerial yoga.
What we miss as well is the gaiting motion. Walking/running long distance to train your endurance/cardio is an essential tool to keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
Let’s put it all together and get back to the main question: Is yoga enough or do we need an additional workout?
Even though, yoga offers a huge range of benefits for the body and the mind, there are some things missing. Best way to go is to find a balance between yoga & fitness to keep the body and mind healthy all around. Here’s my personal experience: both sides benefit from each other. My yoga practice gives me mobility and flexibility which is beneficial for me in a lot of other sports and exercises. And of course, it plays a huge role in my recovery with the meditation and the stretching. My fitness practice is providing the strength and the endurance, which again is beneficial in my yoga practice.
Since I took care to give both of them the same importance, I was able to improve so much in both of them.
It’s the balance between yoga & fitness that keeps us in balance.
(1) https://www.asirecreation.org/recreport/ask-trainer/63-ask-a-trainer-archive/302-the-fundamental-human-movements#:~:text=There%20are%20seven%20basic%20movements,muscle%20groups%20in%20your%20body. (19.02.2021)
(2) https://www.builtlean.com/primal-movement-patterns/ (19.02.2021)