While exercises like yoga and Pilates boost your bliss, can they replace a weight and cardio workout? Read on...
In the midst of life's cacophony, a brief hour of tranquility is heaven.
That's what Mind-Body classes provide -- a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine. It is a time to centre into your body and mind all its goodness.
There are different types of Mind-Body classes being practised around the world over. Here are a few:
Yoga is pretty much the epitome of a mind-body class. There are different kinds of yoga; each one with varying aspects -- breathing, meditation, endurance and flexibility. The setting can vary from a simple hall to outdoors to candle lit studios.
The Pilates philosophy is that the strength of the body lies in its core. The core comprises of the mid section including the abdominals and back. The exercises are slow, relaxed but concentrated. It helps you strengthen the body from the centre outwards. Pilates sessions may be done on the mat or on Pilates Reformers.
Derived from Chinese martial art, Tai Chi is a tranquil but strong form of exercise. The movements are slow and flow from one to another. The beauty lies in the flow and serenity. It is also known to have health benefits and increase longevity.
This form of exercise looks quite but is tough. The exercises are programmed to increase flexibility and strength simultaneously. The repetitions are few, slow and controlled. A class like this leaves you feeling long and strong, inside out.
A class based on Ballet exercises that uses the bar that is attached on the wall, around waist level. It gives you long, lean muscles without the bulk. Barre workouts increase balance and flexibility, and improve the mind- body connection.
Some fitness trainers combine two or more of the workouts together to create a class that gives you benefits of both or more of these forms of exercise. For example: Yogalates is a combination of yoga & Pilates, similarly barre and yoga may be combined; and so on.
The low down on what these kinds of exercises can give (and not give) you:
- Fat burn and weight loss: Marginal unless done as cardiovascular exercise
- Muscle mass gain: Negligible
- Strength gains: High overall body strength, but individual muscles do not gain as much as with weight training
- Muscle endurance: High
- Flexibility gains: Very high
- Relaxation: High
- Centering (focus on self and body): High
- Balance and stability: High
A mind-body class has a lot to give but is not a complete workout; so it should not be done as the only form of exercise; but rather as a part of your workout routine.
Here's an example of a good workout plan:
- Cardiovascular exercise: 4-5 days a week for at least 30 minutes non-stop
- Weight training: 2-3 times a week
- Mind and body: Twice a week. Great after cardio work. Do not do it on a weight training day
Photographs: Sombilon Photograpy/Creative Commons