The origins of Yoga date back to over 5,000 years ago. Since that time, there have been countless revisions to the practice, causing it to evolve into the modern form of exercise – both physical and spiritual – that it is today.
From Hatha to Ashtanga, Bikram and Vinyasa (the list can go on), many styles of yoga have made their way into western cultures, and while these are still the most common forms of yoga, modern enthusiasts have transformed the practice beyond measure.
Yoga and Cross Training
One of the most recent changes to the modern yoga practice has been the introduction of cross training. By blending the strength and balance prominent in most forms of yoga with a more modern exercise routine, yogis have brought the practice of yoga to a more mainstream level.
For some, yoga is still a deeply spiritual practice, but for others, it has become another form of strength and endurance training. The practice of yoga cross training has now become a staple for many people, whether they are professional athletes or the average person.
Combining the Two
As students and teachers, there are many ways that we can incorporate cross training into our yoga practice:
Some styles of yoga focus on slowly moving from pose to pose, holding each pose to achieve maximum flexibility and relaxation. Hatha and Vinyasa are two broad yoga categories that incorporate these practice.
To give them a cross training twist, try one of two things:
- Increasing the speed in which you move from pose to pose
- Switch to a more vigorous yoga style, such as Ashtanga
Upping the tempo of your yoga practice will increase its effectiveness on your cardio and strength training routine. If the tempo becomes too much on your body, and you feel your yoga mat isn’t comfortable enough, try using some extra padding or a yoga mat cover to protect you.
What’s a bit of strength training without weights. Grab a set of dumbbells or kettlebells and start using them during your practice. You can alternate poses with weightlifting exercises to build strength. Combine this with tempo increases for the most intense yoga workout.
Yoga Cross Training for Athletes
Many athletes, particularly distance runners, need to incorporate cross training into their training. But you don’t have to resort to biking or swimming. Yoga, when combined with cross training, can be one of the best ways to increase your strength and flexibility, so get started on your workout today!