Both yoga and stretching provide essential benefits in our body since they include the various positions such as reaching, widening, pulling and balancing the body. What’s the difference between stretching and yoga? Is yoga a substitute for stretching?
Undoubtedly, both activities give great results to over all well-being of an individual, in mind and in body. Stretching helps reduced stress level, muscle tensions. It makes you feel happy and comfortable.
Thus, stretching may be considered as an extension of yoga. It relieves your body tensions and helps in improving blood circulation throughout the same.
What is the difference between yoga and stretching?
However, stretching exercises and yoga are different in many aspects. In the former, it requires to hold your body and muscle position for a few seconds, thus, improving flexibility. On the other hand, in yoga workout, it includes variety of poses that focus more on the strength, stability, and meditation.
In stretching, it holds your breath while exercising. These are stretching alternatives to yoga. In doing yoga, nonetheless, you should have a breathing technique to inhale and exhale while executing different poses.
In yoga, it has different series of stretches and poses which offers powerful benefits and it is for everyone no matter what your body size, your age or your fitness level. Nonetheless, it is possible to integrate both stretching and yoga into your routine.
When your goal is to improve your flexibility, you should focus on stretching. And if you want to build strength and endurance, then yoga is much better fitness workout to do.
Its gentle movements are big reasons why people love yoga. These contributed to yoga’s popularity. It is good for people even for those who have certain conditions and even for pregnant women too.
Yoga can be modified depending on your body needs. It is more than just simple exercise because it affects your whole body and mind. The good thing about yoga is that it changes your life’s perspective to become more of a positive individual.
Yoga stretches for beginners
As we can see, stretching is an extension of yoga. For beginners, this initial stretching workout will prepare their bodies to a more pronounced yoga poses.
This may help them as well in avoiding injuries because as the muscles initially stretches its fibers the muscle contraction will eventually adapt to any subsequent movements of the body.
Stretching also prevents muscles stress and soreness. Thus, beginners need yoga stretches.
What does it mean that yoga is not just stretching, and Why Does it Matter?
When I heard about the word “yoga”, the first thing that comes to my mind is all about stretching. Yet, we all now that it is not the case. Yoga is more than stretching or physical postures.
It as well concentrates on breathing, while doing physical exertion, thereby, aiding us to achieve relaxation and proper meditation.
Others are not aware that breathing can help your muscles align and give balance. Constant and strategic inhaling and exhaling helps you to focus on what your body needs at the moment of yoga pose execution or meditation.
The word yoga comes from the word “Yuj” which means to join. It is to yoke or to unite which indicates the union or harmony between the mind and body.
For a posture or position to be considered yoga, there should be an element of balance of steadiness of the body and alertness of mind. These will make you feel comfortable while doing the meditation or posture performance.
Conversely, simple stretching does not require the same level of attention. While stretching is beneficial, practicing yoga provides more health benefits not just in our body but more so with our mental health.
While yoga and stretching are both beneficial in our body, they have different goals. In stretching, it can help you to recover injury, become flexible in your athletic performance. Yoga focuses more of the strength, endurance, posture and balance.
Yoga also enhances metaphysical experience. The different poses are connected to individual’s right mindset and with the world around them. It is a mind-body practice with meditation.
Thus, we can say that yoga is a combination of mind and body workout. There several forms of yoga which you can try. Some are relaxing but others can be intense.
Learning yoga nowadays is seamlessly accessible since yoga tutorials and lessons are readily available and it can be done either in outdoors or indoors. Video classes can be downloaded at the convenience of your home.
In doing yoga, it encourages a sense of mindfulness and interaction between the physical [body] and the cerebral [mind].
One should be conscious as they practice different postures. Yoga has extended the benefits beyond its physical fitness worth. Hence, yoga is considered a lifestyle for maintaining wellness and well-being.
How do you consider that yoga is not just stretching?
Yoga is more than physical stretching. There are factors that we need to consider in practicing yoga such as follows:
Breathing practices and techniques
There is a specific technique or breathing exercise in yoga called “Pranayama.” It requires a deep diaphragmatic breathing. The inhale and exhale motions depend on your instructor when to execute them, and sometimes, he will ask you to hold your breath.
In yoga, the breathing and meditation calm your mind, thus, reducing stress and anxiety. You will be achieving a sound and healthy mind.
Skills and ability
It will take a little bit of time to attain the best, if not perfect, yoga pose or posture. You need constant and consistent practice, let alone discipline to achieve the needed skills and ability to perform effortlessly the poses, more so, the difficult ones. Also, in attending a yoga program, your instructor will modify the poses and positions that will suit you. It will depend on your body figure, age, and physical endurance.
Studies show that doing yoga can improve the function of your lungs, especially in older women. It is, likewise, considered a therapy to those suffering from pulmonary disease and to those who have diabetes to help improve their blood sugar and get better sleep.
Flexibility and Strength
Doing different yoga poses stretches your muscles. And with regular practice, you will become more flexible. Similarly, holding your body in a steady and balanced position would take a lot of strength.
It is a form of intense workout. In performing difficult yoga posture, it burns a lot of calories in your body and at the same time it tones your muscles. It is a total mind and body exercise.
Tips and Reminders for Yoga Not Just for Stretching
Yoga offers several benefits for body. It clams the mind, as aforesaid. Whether a person is young or old, fit or otherwise overweight, yoga is for everyone.
If you are planning to practice yoga or being a beginner in yoga, here are some helpful tips or suggestions to get you started.
Have a good Yoga teacher
It is enjoyable to learn the basics of yoga if you have an experienced instructor to teach you. Now, you can also find several videos on you tube to teach you the basic poses.
Yoga is about providing a healthy workout activity to achieve a well-balanced body and mind fitness. Hence, as you make your poses, you should just relax. You must engage in a deep core strategic breathing to relieve your stress. This will result to a calm and focus mind.
Take a break
In doing yoga, you should focus and concentrate, preferably in a quiet environment. However, this may sometimes make you feel bored. You need to take a break to relax yourself.
When to Eat or Drink
Before doing or practicing yoga, it is recommended not to eat for one to two hours. If you want to drink, it should be a small amount of liquid intake. Also drinking sugar or any beverage that contains caffeine is also not advisable before yoga.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
You will do a lot of body movements such as bending and stretching in all directions, necessitating constant movements of your body. In this scenario, you need to wear clothes that you are most comfortable with so it would not restrict your movements while performing yoga poses.
Practice makes perfect
Allotting at least 15-30 minutes of your leisure time doing yoga once a day can have a positive effect on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By regular practice of yoga, you will be familiarized with different poses and gradually your body becomes more flexible, thereby, achieving the best yoga posture execution.
If you are a beginner in yoga, you do not need to buy an expensive equipment all at the same time, such as but not limited to yoga mat, yoga block, strap, and bolster. A simple yoga mat is good for starter. However, the yoga “props” can be very useful. If you can afford it at the start, you may want to consider buying them.
Relax and enjoy Yoga
After doing yoga, do not rush in getting up. Finish your practice by resting and relaxing your body lying flat on the floor, called “Shavasana” for at least five to fifteen minutes. Then, get up slowly to come up in a sitting position.
We have learned that yoga is not just stretching your body. We now know it provides us benefits in order to live a healthy life. It reduces stress, fatigue, and mental disorders. It allows our mind to think clearly and focuses on positive thoughts.
Yoga is an old discipline that originated in India thousands of years ago. And until today many people indulge themselves in practicing the same. This has become one of the famous form of exercises all over the world.
Yoga is an art of living because it makes the body achieve stability while focusing on inner self that includes our mind and emotions. In indulging on it, we can cope with life’s challenges.
It is a very useful exercise that we can do every day. Yoga can change one’s life with the good things and value that will emanate from us as well. Yoga stabilizes the physical, emotional, mental and [even] spiritual [for religious practitioner] health.
Thus, yoga has been rooted in history along with the foundation to teach individual how to empower oneself. And with our technology, it can be easily accessible from teachers to digital information. Perforce, yoga can be for everyone.