Which is Better: Yoga or Gym?

This is a common question asked by many people wanting to achieve their fitness goals. Both options offer a wide variety of benefits, so the best way to answer this question is to think about what you’re looking to accomplish from your exercise routine.

When we talk about the gym, we mean a health or fitness club, with exercise equipment like treadmills, elliptical machines, weight machines, and free weights. Some of these clubs may also have a running track or swimming pool.

There are many different types of yoga, and some types will get your blood pumping quicker than others. If you’re looking to speed up your metabolism to start the fat-burning process, you may want to check into Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power Yoga.

A University of Texas study had participants try 3 different types of exercise: the first group in the gym, the second group practiced yoga, and the third group exercised however they wanted, as long as they did it consistently.

While all workouts achieved similar results in regards to physical fitness and body fat, the yogis gained more flexibility than the other groups in the study.

If you want to focus on training a specific muscle group, you may want to lift weights at the gym. For example, if your goal is to pump up your glutes and hamstrings, doing squats at the gym is an effective way to get started on that.

However, if you want a more integrative experience, yoga may be the better choice, as it not only tones your body, but works to quiet your mind and reinvigorate your spirit with positive thoughts and energy. In addition, yoga helps you develop strength and flexibility throughout your whole body.

Regardless of whether you choose yoga or the gym, it’s important to remember that the key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. As long as you’re not staring at the clock, just wishing for it to be over the whole time, it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, just that you enjoy it.

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Yoga: How Can Yoga Affect Your Life?

Whether in your mind, body, or soul, it’s highly likely that yoga has or will transform your life. While the change may not be evident immediately, you gradually start to notice small shifts in your temperament, the way you hold your body, your health, and the way you think.

When you begin your yoga practice, you’re embarking on the start of a lifelong journey toward wellness, no matter how old or out of shape you think you may be.

If you’re a brand-new yogi or have been on your path to enlightenment for years, here are just a few of the benefits you’ll reap from a regular yoga practice:

Balance the scales.

Yoga’s going to help you become aware of and sort out any issues you may be dealing with from aspects of your being: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.


Unwind your body and mind.

Whenever you need an instant uplift, yoga’s got your back (literally as well as figuratively!). If you need an immediate mood boost, or are just looking for that “Aah!” feeling of relaxation elation, try going into Downward-Facing Dog poses, combined with slow, deep breaths, 10 times in a row.


Get glorious glutes.

Yoga’s going to give your lower body the lean, toned look you covet, without any unnecessary bulk. Try Happy Baby or Big Toe pose to lengthen and send some much-needed love to your buttocks and hamstrings.


Say goodnight to insomnia.

Research has shown that a daily yoga practice can lead to a better night’s sleep. This is because it allows us to clear the hustle and bustle from our minds and truly relax into the present moment.

This lets us slow down and prepare for a night of restful slumber. Try Pigeon Pose or a Seated Forward Bend prior to winding down for the night. Both of these poses are bed-friendly, so afterwards, you can roll over and enjoy a good night’s worth of deep, restorative sleep.


Yoga could change your brain.

A United States research study took MRI brain scans of people who practiced yoga regularly and compared to those who didn’t practice it at all, yogis had more grey matter and brain volume.

Another study showed that the precuneous, posterior cingulate cortex, which both contribute to a person’s sense of self, and the hippocampus, which helps curb stress, were bigger in the brains of participants who practiced yoga regularly.


Improved immunity.

A study done in Norway showed that a consistent yoga practice could alter your genetic expression and give you a boost in immunity. This is because learning to breathe better results in increased circulation, allowing your organs to function optimally.


Better blood pressure.

Yoga has been shown to improve hypertension even more than changes to a person’s daily diet and nutritional habits. What’s great about practicing yoga is that it not only alleviates the symptoms, but by slowing down the heart and signaling to the body and mind to relax, addresses the root cause of the issue.

Try a cooling down pose, like a seated forward bend. Rest your head on a pillow or a yoga block so you can drop into the pose with ease.


Alleviates low back and neck pain.

In your yoga practice, when you hold a pose for a certain amount of time, your muscles begin to relax as you exhale. These poses lead to better posture, by teaching you how to properly support your body throughout the day.



We are learning more and more about yoga’s life-transforming abilities every day. Hopefully these benefits will motivate you to get on the mat and begin your lifelong journey toward peace and well-being today!

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10 Tips on Yoga Etiquette

None of us ever want to be “that person”. You know–the rude one intruding on your space, yelling at the top of her lungs. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to ensure that you’re adding a harmonious, not hellish, vibe to your yoga class.

If you’re ever unsure about whether you’re being courteous to your fellow yogis, a good question to ask yourself is, “Could my behavior negatively impact others around me?”. Read on to learn what faux pas to steer clear from while on the mat.

1. Don’t walk on someone else’s mat when you’re trying to find a good spot

Think about it from their point of view: does the thought of someone else’s sweaty feet on your mat make you want to jump for joy? Didn’t think so.

2. Bring a towel with you

You can work up a sweat during practice, so eliminate the possible embarrassment of it dripping on your neighbor’s mat.

3. Ditch the distractions

Put your phone on silent mode and try not to have side conversations with your friends during class. You can always socialize before and after class, but trying to do it during class can be disruptive to your classmates and the yoga instructor.

If you think you’re going to be late to class, check your teacher’s policy on lateness, as some won’t allow people to attend class if they’re more than 10 minutes late. If you are late to class and need someone to move to make room for you, wait until it’s a good time for them to move.

You can understand how much of a buzzkill, not to mention a hassle, it can be to have to unwind from an intense pose like Sirsa Padasana to accommodate your needs. Just be mindful of how your behavior affects your classmates. Try to show up 10-15 minutes early to class, if you can.

4. Practice good personal hygiene

Wear deodorant, and show up to class with freshly laundered clothes. Make sure your mat and towel are clean before each class.

Wear snug yet comfortable clothes that give you your full range of motion, but stay away from outfits that are too revealing. No matter how attractive you are, no one wants to see that in yoga class.

While you should wear deodorant, don’t overdo it with your perfume or cologne. Some people are sensitive to certain scents, and you’ll probably be sweating in class anyway, so save the sprays for after practice.

5. Take off your shoes before entering the studio

Yoga is done barefoot. No, your feet aren’t going to offend or gross anyone out. Everyone is barefoot during class. If you have a health condition that requires you to wear socks, please discuss this with your teacher before class.

Not sure where to put your shoes? Just follow the well-seasoned yogis, or ask one of them.

6. If you’re sick with something contagious, stay home

One of the greatest benefits of yoga is that you can practice it anywhere, including the comfort of your own home. You can always return to class when you feel better.

7. Don’t shoot dirty looks if you’re in a crowded class and someone accidentally brushes you with a hand or foot

It happens to all of us, especially in the more popular classes. Rolling your eyes or sighing loudly just makes you look like a jerk.

8. Don’t voice your annoyance during a tough pose

Chances are, we’re all struggling with it. If someone grunts, punches their mat or passive-aggressively makes a point to stumble out of a pose, it can infuse the whole class with a negative vibe.

Instead, smile through the challenge and remember that you are doing something incredibly beneficial for your personal growth. Future you is grateful that you’re invested in developing your skills and abilities.

9. Respect your studio

Keep it clean, and make sure you’re not talking too loudly in the lobby or hallway, in case another class is deep in meditation or savasana. Which brings us to the last, often overlooked point.

10. Stay in savasana!

This is a crucial part of your practice, because you’re using this time to integrate your mind, body and breath in order to meditate on your practice. I’m sure you can imagine how disruptive it can be to your classmates when you walk around them or drop a water bottle during savasana.

Savasana will allow you to soak up all the benefits from everything you just did. The more anxious you are to wriggle out of it, the more necessary it is for you to stay in savasana until the end of practice.

Awareness is always important, so do yourself and your fellow yogis a favor by spreading the word about these etiquette tips, so everyone can enjoy a productive, relaxing yoga practice.

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