Movement for Modern Life founder Kat Farrants’ weekly column, where she shares her thoughts, tips and tools for living a bigger, brighter life, moving and living more. Don’t forget to tune in to our weekly facebook live chat with Kat every Friday at 1pm for more!
I’m not sure if you’ve seen on our Facebook Movers Group, but there’s been a lot of discussion on late about the Transformation Challenge, which is oh so fabulous (and we now have 200 of you busy transforming!) It’s not too late to join in, it’s our best challenge yet – if i don’t say so myself!
The other thing that we’ve been chatting about is whether yoga is exercise and whether folks ‘work out’ as well as practice yoga.
This is a great question. I definitely used to think of yoga as my exercise (but I was doing very vigorous ashtanga). But 2 decades later, and now my yoga practice is more of a stretch to feel freedom and a keeping of the physical muscles and joints healthy. But much more than that, it’s a work-in, not a work-out!
Although the weight bearing exercises (such as plank/downward dog) are really good for me, and sometimes my heart rate will increase and I know will help to strengthen me and reduce my risk of osteoporosis, yoga is now more of an ironing of the creases and creating length in my body. But more than a focus on my physical body, for me, yoga is a chance to check in with myself, how am I feeling, and it’s a chance to re-charge my energetic and emotional batteries. I just know that after my practice, I will feel happier, more vital and have more energy, which is why my daily practice is an absolute ‘must’ for me.
My experience is that if I come onto the mat without having done any exercise, and I intend to ‘exercise on the mat’, my yoga experience is not as full, my breath-work will be lost and it is more likely to result in injury. When yoga is done fast, especially with fast and creative vinyasa classes, I think that the risk of alignment injuries increases, especially with fast transitions between poses. I also don’t like the risk of shoulder injury of the chaturangas done repeatedly – so for me, the risk of injury, and the lack of connection means that I largely like a mindfully paced vinyasa, hatha, Forrest yoga (with it’s focus on core work and safe strengthening – which I do admit to loving as a form of exercise!), Yin or Restorative. This type of yoga really is not so much a work out, as a work-in.
Watch Kat’s weekly Facebook Live video below for more thoughts on this, and don’t forget to tune in this Friday at 1pm on the MFML facebook page for the next instalment! This week’s is all about whether yoga is a work-out. Do you work-out when you practice yoga?