Looking for an exotic exercise that can help with your health and fitness?

Inspired by age-old Hindu traditions, yoga is a fantastic way to build strength and improve your physical and spiritual health. 

What Is Yoga?

doing yoga on yoga mat

Yoga a group of exercises and spiritual practices that trace their history back millennia to Ancient India. It focuses on building strength, flexibility and physical fitness through a variety of different “poses,” also called “asanas.” It also has a strong spiritual element, and is thought by many practitioners to help improve the spiritual and mental well-being. 

What Is The History Of Yoga?

Yoga has its basis in Ancient India, and the word was first used in the 5th century BCE. Today’s yoga is different from this form of yoga, though, which was primarily a spiritual practice.

Today’s fitness-based yoga classes trace back to “hatha yoga.” A yogi named Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was primarily responsible for this modern form of yoga as exercise, as he combined ancient yoga poses with modern fitness exercises. Today, this type of yoga is one of the most popular group exercises in the Western world. 

What Type Of Exercise Is Yoga?

yoga classes

Yoga primarily focuses on building muscular strength and flexibility, as well as balance. It’s not a very cardiovascular-intensive exercise, compared to running or riding a bicycle.

The basis for yoga is moving through different poses, called “asanas.” These poses usually involve contorting and stretching the body and muscles in a particular way, and vary from being very easy, requiring almost no training, to extremely complex poses that require very strong muscles and good balance.

Preparing For Yoga

yoga mat

Preparing for yoga does not require much equipment. You will usually need a yoga mat, which is a soft mat that allows you to bend and do poses on hard surfaces while remaining comfortable and avoiding injury. 

Beyond this, all you need are some loose-fitting, comfortable, athletic clothes, and perhaps a water bottle. Then, you will be led through the yoga session in a group. If you are practicing on your own, you may need to use a laptop or phone to view instruction by a Yogi, unless you already know many yoga poses.

Practicing Yoga 

Yoga classes are usually an hour in length, and begin with gentle stretching poses, then move onto more difficult poses. The level of difficulty depends on the class you decide to take. Each pose is held for a short time, and your instructor will help you move through each pose, and do each one properly. The end of a yoga class often includes a pose intended to help relax and de-stress the body. 

Yoga Basics – Watch And Learn!

Interested in learning more about yoga? Here is a quick video outlining the basics with a 20-minute workout included. Watch and learn! 

The Benefits Of Yoga

doing yoga

Yoga can help strengthen and stretch your muscles, and also improves your balance. Many practitioners also claim that yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety, treat lower back pain, and even treat some of the symptoms of depression.

Variants Of Yoga 

One of the most popular variants of yoga is “hot yoga” (Bikram), which consists of a group of 26 poses done in a room that’s between 95-106 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of yoga is thought to have benefits similar to a sauna.

Other major variants of yoga include prenatal yoga, which is designed for pregnant women, and Kundalini yoga, which emphasizes the spiritual aspects of yoga, including meditation.

Try Yoga For Yourself – And See Its Benefits! 

There is a reason yoga has been practiced for more than two millennia. It’s fun, easy to get started, and has a number of great health benefits. So find a yoga class near you now, and try it for yourself today.

Cross Training

Cross training is not exactly an exotic exercise, but it can be very helpful for your fitness if you’re an athlete.

Get the details below, and see why you should regularly cross train, and perform workouts that are not normally part of your preferred sport or activity. 

What Is Cross Training?

Cross training, put simply, is the practice of training in a sport that is not your specialty, in an attempt to enhance your overall fitness and athletic performance. 

If you are a swimmer, for example, lifting weights would be an example of cross training, particularly if you focus on muscle groups that may help you swim more effectively. If you are a runner, riding an indoor bicycle when the weather is bad would be an example of cross training. 

What Is The History Of Cross Training?

Getting Ready for Cross Training

Cross training has been used by athletes for centuries, and its true origins are likely just as old as athletic competitions. More recently, fitness companies like CrossFit have emphasized the importance of cross-functional training – and turned it into a rising trend among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

What Type Of Exercise Is Cross Training?

Cross Training in Gym

This primarily depends on the sport or activity that you focus on. If you are a bodybuilder, for example, cross training could consist of running, riding a bicycle, or swimming for cardiovascular benefits.

On the other hand, if you participate in a cardio-heavy sport like triathlon, you could choose to do an exercise like weight lifting or yoga, which would have benefits for your muscle strength and flexibility.

Preparing For Cross Training

Doing Cross Training

When cross training, you want to minimize your risk of injury. If you are just starting a new fitness activity you have not tried before, you should familiarize yourself with the proper techniques, stretch beforehand, and wear the appropriate clothing and gear for your chosen activity.

Practicing Cross Training

Playing Tennis

When cross training, it’s usually best to select an activity that is complementary to your primary sport. If you are a tennis player, for example, lifting weights will help you develop strength to hit the ball harder, and running or riding a bike will improve your cardiovascular fitness. 

The idea is to choose an exercise that is different from your typical workout, but will still have benefits for your chosen sport or activity – so take some time to think about what cross training methods may be right for you.

Learn The Basics About Cross Training With This Video

This video is targeted at runners, but introduces you to some of the key concepts of cross training. For more information, do some searching online and find out what other athletes in your sport do to cross train! 

The Benefits Of Cross Training

Cross training allows you to vary your workouts, which helps you stay motivated. In addition, it lets you target muscles and parts of your body that may not typically be exercised when you’re training for your preferred sport – which can enhance your overall fitness, performance, and physique. 

Cross Training Variations

Everyone has their own variations on cross training. The right activity depends on your age, level of fitness, preferred sport, the equipment you have, and other such factors – so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Start Cross Training For Better Athletic Performance 

If you are an athlete and want to perform better in your favorite sport, we highly recommend giving cross training a try. It helps break the monotony of your typical workouts, and explore new fitness activities that you just might love!