Disadvantages of Combining Yoga or Gym Exercises

By Patricia | December 12, 2008
Yoga & Gym Sessions

Actually it wouldn’t be advisable. You’ll see things in a better light, once you understand the nitty-gritty’s of both.

Yoga is a gentle science, aimed at attaining a balance between all the different systems of the body – such as the respiratory, circulatory system, digestive system, etc – as well as between the body, mind and emotions. This yoga achieves through a meticulously laid down set of practices.

While asanas (yoga postures) are intended to improve physical health and bring about balance and stability, pranayama (breathing exercises) help enhance physical health with the help of increased prana (bio-energy) while helping to calm the mind through slow, calm, sustained breathing. Pranayama also helps to calm the emotions. Try this, for instance. Whenever you are agitated, tense or anxious, rather than react and take a hasty decision, just close your eyes, gently, take a few deep, long, relaxing breaths and tell yourself everything is going to be okay and see how things turn out. You may not always be in a position to influence the outcome, but you will certainly be in command of your feelings and emotions.

Then there is meditation – dhyana. This is intended to calm the mind, bring about tranquility of thoughts and feelings and take the practitioner to a higher level. Yoga believes life is all about mind (and emotions) over matter. And the body is just composed of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether. So, all said and done, if your Yoga practices are comprehensive, you need look nowhere else. On the contrary the effects could be adversary.

Gym or running exercises are dynamic sports aimed solely at physical fitness. While we don’t deny the spin-offs of mental benefits, as well, these are more incidental than intended. In almost all yoga sessions you begin with a set of loosening exercises and Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) then progress to the Yogasanas (poses). At the end of each and every session is a 15 – 20 minute Shavasana (Corpse pose) relaxation session that cools down the heated body; and mind. This doesn’t happen in other exercise regimens. Besides, Yogasanas are designed to tone up the muscles as well as internal organs, unlike any other exercises. So, if you practise Yoga you would, automatically, derive all the benefits of physical fitness workouts without the strenuous jogging, swimming or weight lifting.

So what’s the disadvantage of blending or combining? They both work in different ways, often contrary to each other in the system and this could result in harm rather than benefit to the body. Worse still, the side-effects may not be immediately apparent but could surface after a decade or so. So you would be well advised to stay within your limits and practise either Yoga or exercises at the gym.

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