In an article written by Alisa Bauman at the Yoga Journal, no matter how you define “fitness,” yoga is enough to achieve it. From elite athletes to recent couch potatoes, the practice of yoga increases lung capacity, flexibility and alters one’s body composition. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, there are four different markers to determine “fitness.”
Muscular Fitness – This means your actual muscle strength and how much you can lift as well as your muscle endurance, which is how long you can lift it. Seems like we should all be muscle-women after carrying around our growing babies, right?
Cardiorespiratory Fitness – This is the fitness of your heart, lungs and blood vessels. If this system is healthy and strong your body is an efficient machine, making other problems less likely.
Flexibility – As we age, we naturally become stiffer. Things like tight hamstrings can pull down on our pelvis, and that causes the lower back pain we all know and love!
Body Composition – This is the ratio of fat compared to every other body tissue, organ, muscles or bones. The medical community still maintains that too much fat and too little muscle increases your risk of disease.
Studies conducted using more than an hour (at a time) of yoga two to four days a week have determined that incorporating more aerobically challenging positions can cover your entire exercise need. Be sure to include postures like Triangle, Downward-Facing Dog, Tree Stand and Plank for maximum benefit.
Yoga can have a calming effect on busy moms. Start slowly and work towards your goal, whatever it is. Yoga is called a “practice” because it’s something we do in increments. As it boosts your mental health and physical health, let it provide you with the rest and mental clarity we so desperately need sometimes! And congratulate yourself each time for making YOU a priority.