I have always had this thought that how can one achieve a good balance between modern fitness training and ancient yoga. There was some kind of a myth always surrounding yoga. Though it keeps the body healthy, it's rather difficult to achieve a physically well built body by practicing yoga.
I have been working towards achieving a healthy body for the past 5 years now. In the first half of this long duration, I spent more than 2 hours everyday in gym trying to shape up and build a fit body. Though the results were good, they were not up to the mark and the practices required a lot of strenuous effort. Initially, I had been consuming non-vegetarian food everyday due to the logic that this will help me achieve a stronger and good-looking physique. I started bulking up but not in the right places.
Then sometime later, I got introduced to the courses conducted by the Art of Living. During the course, I was introduced to Surya Namaskars, an ancient yoga routine. In my personal opinion, this is the most complete sequence that can offer an overall hit rate. Around this time, I had lost interest in getting great physique. I just wanted to do some good exercise and stay healthy. I practiced yoga regularly for 2 months and took up a vegetarian diet. To my surprise, things started changing.
The main difference I noticed between Surya Namaskars and the modern Cardio exercises like treadmill, ellipse or even swimming were immense. Not only the Surya namaskars were quick and effective but they also gave good muscular shape and more strength to the body. I used to feel drained by the end of my gym routine but the great thing about doing yoga was that I felt much more livelier and calmer.
Being vegetarian helped me in consuming only what was required and helped shunt out the extra calories and cholesterol that came with meat. It also reduced the aggression in me and brought more focus during training. Gradually my routine changed to include Surya Namaskars and other yoga poses along with my strength training at gym. I began to notice a good progress in my fitness. I was more fresh for the amount of physical work I did. I reduced the amount of time I spent at the gym and still the results were extraordinary. Pumping iron and yoga are two opposite poles. Pumping iron contracts and hardens the muscles whereas yoga stretches and relaxes the muscles, keeping them flexible. Combining these two provided a great scope for finer results and protected the body from muscle injuries. Eventually, I ended up having six pack abs without any conscious efforts.
Apart from those energizing Surya Namaskars I also practiced Ardha Matsyendrasana, Dhanurasana, Viparita Shalabhasana, Naukasana, Setu Bandhasana and Padmasana amongst others in my yoga routine.
Other add-on benefits that I got included a more relaxed state of mind and a freshness that lasted through the day, which in my opinion is a requirement for every individual out there. Going vegetarian and including yoga in my day-to-day routine not only made me look good, but also made me feel great! It gave me the liberty to eat anything I wanted without thinking about the quantity.
If you are one of those people who value fitness as much as me, I'd recommend you to give yoga a chance. Club it with your gym routine and experience the difference yourself!
Besides being a fitness enthusiast, Mayur Karthik, holds a Masters degree in Biological Sciences and a B.Tech degree in Electronics and Instrumentation. He's a film-maker who has won prestigious accolades in India and abroad. He's travelled across India on his motorbike to understand his roots and learn more about life. Mayur currently resides in Bangalore, India and teaches yoga and meditation, and also makes films.
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Sri Sri Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher. Find a Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org