Yoga and Gym has essential similarities and essential differences. While yoga helps in mental balance, Gym helps in physical fitness. While Yoga works towards uniting ones atma (soul) with paramatma (God), Gym helps in unity of Body Metabolic Rate (BMR) and stamina. Though both sound different, they work on principles of co-ordination, correction and control.
Many Gym trainers, use Yoga Asanas as warm-up exercises and also for stretching the body after work-outs. Regular doses of both are being recommended for best fitness. However, yoga is not a necessarily a calorie-burning regime, but it boosts the immune system in the body. Individuals who are best suited for yoga are those with health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. A Senior Cardiologist at Max Devki Hospital, Delhi has stated that Yoga controls blood pressure and benefits diabetes patients as the two are often inter-related. However, he emphasizes that yoga should only be considered as a preventive measure and not as a cure.
Another joint study conducted at AIIMS, Delhi and NIMHANS, Bangalore during the year 2004, revealed that Sudarshan kriya which is being taught by Art of Living Foundation, helps in controlling mental and physical stress. The study conducted on few groups of policemen showed amazing reductions in their stress levels. It was found that men who practiced Sudarshan Kriya had more surveillance cells in their immune system which helps in destroying tumor cells. It also lowered the cholesterol levels and decreased their need to turn to smoking.
While yoga enhances mental calmness, increases concentration, boosts immunity and provides flexibility and agility, Gymming helps burn calories, increases stamina and efficiency of heart and lungs, builds muscles and strength.
Yoga can be opted if an individual is scared of a tough gym schedule or has problems related to stress like irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, palpitations and hypertension. Such people can switch over to meditation or do both if they have the time. At the same time, yoga may not be suitable for individuals who are impatient, looking for quick results or are looking for an adrenaline surge, all of which is possible only in a gym. Also, the choice could be made based on fitness level and ones lifestyle. For instance, individuals who are constantly traveling may not be regular at the gym and the equipments cannot be transported, but yoga can be done anywhere because all that is required is a mat (as long as there is no laziness to stop the practice).
Whatever be the choice, one must be persistent and consistent. That is the only way for a lasting fitness.
[Source: Marie Clarie (India edition)-Oct.2006]