This session was a real eye-opener for me. Many a time, I was at a loss to explain better, the difference between a physical exercise at the gym and Yoga. The main point of difference I would say is Yoga is more holistic and attends to the mind. After this session, I realized how little I knew about Strength Training.
It was indeed an awesome live session that AYS had with Aditya, Co-founder of Gravity Holistic Fitness. His area of expertise lies in Strength and conditioning, Postural Correction, and Lifestyle coaching. He has also completed his training in Hata Yoga and has a diploma in naturopathy and specializes in Hormone Yoga Therapy.
By now, I know you will be interested in what the live conversations had to offer. Let us explore some aspects of it below.
MISCONCEPTIONS — NO MORE
Aditya began by putting things in perspective by saying that building muscle mass is only one aspect of what strength training has to offer. Strength training covered a larger canvas and is required for every human. This got me curious. My knowledge of people at the gym or such centers of fitness was limited to the image of building muscles and equating it to fitness. Apparently, it is not so!
SO WHAT ELSE IS STRENGTH TRAINING?
To explain this Aditya took us back to thousands of years when as a human our main occupation was to hunt for food. Things weren’t at all technological and hence we depended a lot on our bodies. We were used to movements such as push, pull, squat, lunge, and twist in our everyday life, then. So, our genome (which is 10,000 years or more old) basically is programmed for such movements. It is, of course, a known fact that with most of us sitting in front of the computers for long hours we aren’t doing any such movements at all. So basically, we aren’t doing justice to our bodies.
DOES NOT YOGA OFFER THIS?
This becomes the next obvious question. Aditya sees Yoga as a tool for developing discipline. He says, for him Yoga helps in keeping Body, Mind, Energy, and Emotions together. Whereas Strength training aims to build the required strength and prepare the body for the basic movements which it is intended for. While yoga uses the body’s own weight to develop strength, in Strength training external weights are involved. In our daily life, we still need to move and lift weights or loads and strength training prepares the body for this. There lies one of the differences.
CAN ONE DO YOGA AND STRENGTH TRAINING?
The session then explores if Strength training affects flexibility in Yoga practice. Aditya once again explained that what comes in the way of flexibility is too much muscle mass. He said that too much muscle mass is toxic. Strength training will not affect yoga posture and only excess muscle mass affects flexibility.
Also, he explained that one does not directly begin with weights or strength training exercises on day one. It always is individual dependent and involves various stages. The initial stages being developing flexibility, mobility, and stability in the body. Once these things are developed to the required extent, one proceeds to further strength training routines.
The movement is from flexibility, mobility, and then to stability and strength. This is much like our Yoga practice.
While dynamic repetition of asanas aims at improving flexibility, stay postures help us develop strength.
STATEMENTS ON YOGA
The session was a constant attempt at understanding the differences between Yoga and Strength Training. It was also to clarify the point that these two practices are indeed complementary to each other. In these conversations, Aditya gave us a few statements on his understanding of Yoga. These are profound and have brought me more clarity and I hope they will for you too
1) The purpose of Yoga is to feel whole. Feeling whole cannot be obtained from Strength Training
2) Yoga helps in knowing the Higher Self and calming the mind.
3) Yoga is for internal well-being and self-discipline
4) Yoga builds a tolerance to stress
5) Yoga helps in deeper communication with oneself
6) Yoga gives completeness
7) Yoga teaches how to let go of identities and how to face reality
CAN ONE DO BOTH?
The session gave us the answer “Yes” for this question. The answer is based on understanding the perspectives of Strength training and Yoga. If one is interested in strength training, then one should opt to learn and develop this art and enjoy the benefits of a body that is strength trained. To give the body what the genome has built it for. Aditya himself has given enough reasons for the practice of Yoga too.
Aditya explained that for him the self becomes the barometer which tells him what is needed for him any day. It could be only Yoga or only Strength Training or both. Aditya said that one must understand that it is not either Yoga or Strength Training, but it is Yoga and Strength Training.
To listen to someone who does both Strength Training and Yoga, this session will bring to your understanding many unknown and unthought perspectives. We learn through discussions and then we explore deeper.
“Frequently we are able to understand the superficial and more obvious elements. But comprehension is incomplete until we have achieved perception at the deepest level without any errors” — The Heart of Yoga — T.K.V Desikachar
More Strength to us all!
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