Side Effects of Yoga

I run into people all the time who really don’t like yoga. When I ask why, the reason is often because they don’t get the workout they’re looking for from the class, and it got me thinking…

Yoga isn’t your workout. It’s a different thing. The fact that you often do get a workout from your practice is a beneficial side effect of a medicine meant for something else.

Don’t get me wrong, if you practice yoga for exercise, that’s totally fair! There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great for your body! You’re stretching and strengthening muscles as you experience each posture in an active sequence.

However, I have a different goal when I practice and teach yoga: self-study and balance. I don’t mean standing-on-one-foot balance, although again, happy side effect. I mean full life balance. This is why you see restorative or gentle yoga classes that have very little (if any) strengthening and sweating involved.

Practicing this way helps us identify where we are out of balance (self-study) and gives us tools to come back to center.

If we feel hot, agitated and angry one day, a balanced yoga practice will cool you off. If you come into practice feeling heavy and lethargic, a balanced approach will revitalize and invigorate you.

A balanced yoga class will leave you feeling centered, energized, and at ease; not blown out, panting, and done for the day.

There is no hierarchy of better or worse here. Intense exercise can and does feel really good and serves many purposes on its own. I realize more and more that supplementing my yoga practice with more purposeful cardio exercise is important for my own health!

But, I could never replace my yoga practice with some other exercise class…nothing else works for me as well as yoga to bring me to a steady, calm state of mind. I need that peace as much as anything.

Hope to see you in class this week!  Plus, there are dozens of videos on the OAY YouTube Channel available on demand, including 60 Second Stretch Breaks!


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