Yoga can be an excellent gateway exercise. Didn’t understand what it means? Well, recent studies support that Yoga can optimize your General Physical Preparedness (GPP) for physical activity outside of yoga.
Of course, this isn’t to downplay yoga as being a good form of exercise in and of itself. It’s a great exercise all around! But in many cases, high impact aerobic exercises may be off limits if you have a history of low activity. Your current state of health and fitness can sometimes limit you to go for high intensity workouts. If you have a high body fat percentage and/or serious medical conditions, you’ll do best to take a conservative approach such as Yoga to exercise.
So if you haven’t worked out in a while or are not mentally prepared to go to the gym, Yoga can be a great tool to gradually transition into high-intensity physical practice. Here’s how:
Yoga takes it slow
Because Yoga is highly modifiable, the practice can be customized to work with your current state, while also progressing you toward your goals. Under the guidance of a skilled teacher, movements can be scaled to address weaknesses or injuries, and challenge you appropriately. This is what makes yoga so attractive as a form of exercise.
Yoga makes you more aware of you
The best exercise for you is the exercise you want to do. When your level of activity is low, it’s easy to disengage from the reality of your weight. But when you start to move your body, your weight becomes more real. Yoga brings you up against the physical (and emotional) baggage that you’re carrying. You start to relate more to your body and to the space your body occupies, as well as the state of your mind, and the thoughts it occupies.
Yoga resets your GPP
The targeted work that you do in your Aasnas can help to reorganize your body to reclaim a healthy default position. This makes yoga a great domain to optimize your General Physical Preparedness (GPP) for everyday movement and for more demanding physical activity. Those who don’t know what GPP is, it includes variables like your cardiovascular and metabolic health, neurological coordination, muscular endurance and connective tissue health.
All of these variables come together to make up your total capacity for physical activity. Yoga has the power to restore these variables. The practice functions to repair your body and your movement patterns. Yoga frees you from pain and physical restriction, and lowers your risk of injury.
In the long-run, this freedom will benefit your weight loss efforts. Why? Because you’ll have the capacity to do the work. You’ll be able to get your recommended dose of physical activity. You’ll be able to graduate to a more intense yoga practice or movement practice (if that’s what you desire). You’ll be able to reach the summit on a 14-mile hike, or cross the finish line in a Triathlon, or make it through that CrossFit WOD without limping out of the gym. You’ll be able to freely move through your life, which will make physical activity not a chore, but a source of enjoyment.
This Blog is contributed by Dr. Deepak Kr. Nain. He is a certified therapist who specializes in the field of rehabilitation. Deepak possesses a clinical expertise in prescribing the best solutions to help people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).