Posted by: 4pack | November 25, 2008

“Ideal Workout” Update: Ashtanga And Vinyasa Yoga Provide “…A Hell Of A Workout”

CORE ISOMETRICS ARE RECOMMENDED BY FOUR PACKS AS THEY WORK MUSCLE GROUPS ASSOCIATED WTIH THE RECTUS ABDOMINIS…ASHTANGA YOGA PARTICULARLY IS “STRENGTH INTENSIVE” AND WILL RAISE THE HEART RATE AND PROVIDE NECESSARY CARDIOVASCULAR BENEFITS…READ EXCERPTS FROM THIS GREAT ARTICLE BELOW:

“…Some of the more dynamic, like ashtanga and vinyasa, provide “a hell of a workout…”

“…yoga, regardless of the style or level, is going to produce at least two surefire benefits: It will identify and help strengthen weak points in your body, and it will help reawaken muscles that tend to be underused in even active people….”

“…Working through the body’s weak points, retraining muscles, building flexibility, teaching balance: All these flow from yoga practice, even if it’s limited to the less intense styles, said Ralph La Forge, a physiologist at Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Endocrinology….”

http://www.sacbee.com/107/story/1415630.html 

 

With yoga, tai chi and other Eastern practices moving more fully into the mainstream, the question comes up: What do they actually do? Is yoga just a nice stretch, or will it make you stronger? What about cardiovascular health? How does it stack up to the activities more commonly associated (in the West) with aerobic endurance, such as running or biking?

As with most forms of exercise, the answer is, it depends – on what goals you set and on how you organize your training. Yoga practiced at advanced levels involves serious strength. It also takes a pretty single-minded commitment. For anyone not ready to go that route, the relevant issue is whether there is value in a less intense relationship with these disciplines, referred to as “mindful exercise” because of their mental and sometimes spiritual aspect.

My own sense, buttressed in talks with yoga instructors, is that regular participation in yoga, regardless of the style or level, is going to produce at least two surefire benefits: It will identify and help strengthen weak points in your body, and it will help reawaken muscles that tend to be underused in even active people.

Whether the issue is strength or flexibility, your body’s weaknesses become obvious when you start working through yoga poses, even seemingly simple ones. And the further you go, the clearer it becomes what muscle or joint is holding things up.

Yoga, as well as such disciplines as Pilates that require similar precision, forces you to concentrate on which muscles are engaged for each exercise, and leads to more awareness of how we move in daily life.

Working through the body’s weak points, retraining muscles, building flexibility, teaching balance: All these flow from yoga practice, even if it’s limited to the less intense styles, said Ralph La Forge, a physiologist at Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Endocrinology.

There are other widely accepted psychological and physiological benefits as well: Yoga’s emphasis on controlled breathing and its meditative aspect, for example, can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

What’s missing? “It is not intense cardio,” instructor Suzie Hurley said of her studio’s anusara style, a recent offshoot of the methods developed by B.K.S. Iyengar.

Hurley says she still takes vigorous walks and swims to mix up her workouts and supplement her yoga.

Different styles of yoga will involve comparatively more or less motion. Some of the more dynamic, like ashtanga and vinyasa, provide “a hell of a workout,” La Forge said. But in general, he said, yoga won’t produce the same elevated heart rate or intense energy expenditure as more-standard aerobics.

And although yoga does develop underlying fitness (particularly important as we age), La Forge said there can be limits when it comes to strength training.

The styles that involve holding poses longer time to build static strength, for example, as opposed to other exercises that require muscles to move weight through a range of motion or that build endurance.

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