“Practicing yoga or hitting the gym” – finding it too difficult to make a choice ? Let’s make things easier by throwing lights here on what you wish to have and what are you benefited with Yoga and Gym. The word “Yoga” actually means uniting the mind, body and spirit.  And for this union, it is necessary to prepare the body for meditation by stretching and building strength. This is achieved by physical practice of yoga, also known as Asana. Though Yoga was invented and practiced by Indian health Practitioners, in present era of 20th century Western countries are religiously studying and following Yoga to live healthy life. On the contrary we Indian people are running after Gym which focuses on body strengthening but by painstaking way.

These days, especially before the festive season, everyone wants to look good and well toned but most of us don’t know where to turn on. Most people seem to believe that Yoga is only for your mind, with mild stretching exercises. Gym includes physical exercises which put the body to rigorous workout and this ultimately helps in burning out the calories. Whereas Yoga is thought not only to burn out calories but regulate your body functionality like excretion, digestion, blood flow and control your thought flow in your mind. Though Gym is the faster way to lose weight than yoga due to vigorous exercises in gym, Yoga is an ideal method to tone up your body as certain asanas or postures or Surya namaskara (sun salutations) in yoga contribute to losing weight as well.

Yoga postures and exercises involve most of the muscles of the body i.e. yoga has holistic approach in concern with the strengthening of body; but in gym, usually the workout is concentrated on specific groups of muscles. Also specific asanas or postures in yoga focus on specific glands or organs e.g. Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana act on digestive system, adrenal glands & back muscles, neck muscles etc. Yoga moves much more slowly than many other types of exercises in gym. In most cases, it doesn’t raise the heart rate enough to qualify as cardiovascular exercise.  As previously mentioned yoga has holistic approach; it works on the five aspects — mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual. There’s nothing better than yoga for mental health, calmness and concentration or any other mental issues.  It is best treatment for anxiety disorders, depression & stress and also it helps to overcome drug and other addictions. Gym works great on your body but doesn’t do much for your mind and other factors.

Though Gym workouts emphasize on patterned and controlled breathing, but as these exercises are rigorous, respiration rate while workout automatically increases. As per physiology there is some correlation with the respiration and life span. It is revealed that smaller animals like rodents; dogs etc. have higher rate of respiration than humans and other animals. So this faster rate is responsible for shorter life span. Yoga (and pranayama) accentuates for more controlled and deep breathing and thereby metabolism is slowed down. As above said gymming is done to lose the weight, even there is growth of muscles tissue enabling one to have proper or desired physique. And ultimately there is raised intake and craving for food to build up the body. In practice many patients complain that, as long as they continue gym their physique is maintained but if due to some reason one couldn’t continue the same, then definitely adverse effects of quitting gym will be seen. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with yoga. The people who practice yoga are always benefitted by increased stamina, flexible body, controlling or curing health problems etc. Gym will be advantageous to the group of people concern about their physique including sports men, body builders benefitting by strength. But yoga will always help senior citizens, youngsters, pregnant women, children and any person who aspires to live healthy life. Also, yoga can be very well customized for people who are suffering from various ailments such as blood pressure, diabetes, chronic low back pain etc and at times it is therapeutic for the ailments. In case of Gym, people with ailments cant do so many gym exercises with fear of aggravating the condition.

So eventually, yes, yoga can be a perfect complement to your body workout and actually will flourish your healthy life.