Is there a difference in the health benefits between practicing yoga and going to the gym? Yes, there are many, but if your goals are just to keep fit and/or lose weight they can both accomplish that to varying degrees. It all depends on your commitment, what kind of yoga style you practice, what you do at the gym, and how often you do it. Some forms of yoga are more fitness-oriented and are more like a gym experience. The fact is, when you exercise you improve muscle tone and burn calories. The added bonus that most forms of yoga offer is deeper mind/body awareness. Many people find that once they start a yoga program they are more inspired to eat healthier foods, which is key to a healthy body whether you want to lose or maintain weight! All forms of yoga will also help you improve balance, muscle endurance and flexibility, which is not always the case with a gym workout. Additionally, the focused breathing with yoga can significantly help you relax and lower stress and this is where the biggest difference starts. Working out at the gym, while watching TV or rushing to be “done,” is not as effective in reducing stress levels.

There is much more to yoga than just stretching, especially in a JoyFull Yoga practice. Each class is designed to address all the key components to a healthy body and mind and promote healthy gland function, which is not as easy to accomplish in a gym visit. You can work out at the gym several times a week, look fit and feel unwell, tired or lack “oomph” because of adrenal fatigue. Those two little glands can make a huge difference in your overall wellness because they regulate your energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone and other processes that enable you to cope with stress. Adrenal fatigue is produced when your adrenal glands can’t keep up with your physical, emotional, or psychological stress levels. Caffeine can give you temporary relief from the sluggish feeling, but regular JoyFull yoga classes can help your adrenals do their job more efficiently. Another important gland that is addressed in JoyFull Yoga is the Thyroid. Adrenals and Thyroid help each other and when you activate these glands through specific yogic practices, the over all “feel good” of the class stays with you for a long time. Also, the dynamic movement meditation is a fun way to stimulate the lymphatic system while strengthening the brain and heart. The final relaxation helps your body recover from the lactic acid produced by aerobic exercise.

In the end it’s all about balance in our busy lives. Just know that simply huffing and puffing and sweating at the gym may not be enough for long term health and wellness. Make your self-care routines a priority and include things that will help you cultivate a happy heart and mind to help lower your stress levels. Also, the busier your life is, the more you need to give yourself quiet time. JoyFull Yoga can be a wonderful way to take care of yourself on so many levels on it’s own or as a supplement to improve the quality of your other forms of exercise. You can look AND feel good!!

Breathe in Gratitude—Live in Joy!

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