Why Yoga Will Never Go Out of Style

Written by Carol Traulsen.

One of the new forms of exercise is a thing called plyometrics. Elite athletes first starting using it as a part of their training. By definition it is exercises that involve the rapid and repeated stretching and contracting of muscles (such as jumping and rebounding to increase muscle power.) And now it has caught on among the masses, and it's even being combined with yoga. Now I understand that we often like to multitask. The more we can get done at once the successful we feel. That seems to go for exercise too.


There is this idea of the Holy Grail, the exercise that will do everything for us. Some how if we could just find the right work out we could lose weight, have great flexibility, have great muscle tone and be cardiovascularly fit, all at once and in only 10 minutes a day. By any standard that's impossible but the idea of plyometrics combined with yoga could come pretty close. But there are few things you should know.

Plyometrics is not for the lazy. Work out gurus like Tony Horton have programs designed around this concept but unless you're ready for something hardcore I wouldn't recommend P90X. To be fair it includes several different kinds of exercise and yoga is one element of the overall program. It's designed for people who are in pretty good shape to begin with and want to take it to the next level.

The idea behind any of these plyometrics programs is that you don't allow the body to feel comfortable with the routine or the movements, it's called muscle confusion. There are short bursts of intense activity like jumping and changing levels from standing to squatting or push ups and burpees. Don't get me wrong I believe whatever you can do to make yourself fit is important. With obesity rates rising I applaud anyone who takes their health and fitness seriously. For me yoga isn't just about being fit. Yoga helps my balance, my flexibility and coordination, things plyometrics claims to do as well. But there are things that yoga does for me that plyometrics can't.

Yoga allows me to center myself. I look forward to the time I spend doing yoga. It's a gift to spend time on myself. It allows me time to focus my mind as well as a body in a way that no other exercise does. Yoga is not about competition. It teaches you to challenge yourself, to do what you can in the moment. The biggest lesson for me is the constant quest to quiet the mind and be kind to yourself., and be in the moment. You do not have to beat yourself up to improve. I'm over 40 and a cancer survivor. There's a gentle spirit about it that I respond to. You don't have to hurt yourself to feel like you've done your personal best.

Yoga is for all skill levels. No matter where you are there is a class, a teacher and a DVD for you. Yoga is pure no equipment needed. It's been around for a very, very, very long time, and will be after all the other fads have come and gone. This is the proof that it's successful. Time and time again people come back to it, long after something like plyometrics has run its course.

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