Sometimes yoga can be a solely physical practice, and for some people that can be enough, Sergeant says. But the original intention of yoga was not to improve fitness, and many people may need something more cardiovascular or active to meet their fitness needs and goals.
Truth: “The concept of yoga being something for fitness is a very Western idea that has come about in the past 100 years,” Sergeant says. She believes that some of the greatest benefits of yoga are improved sleep quality and a reduction in stress, pain, and anxiety. Plus, you don’t need to practice a specific type of yoga to experience these benefits; you just need to have a positive or healing intention, an understanding of how to safely execute the poses, and a consistent practice over time.
Daily life is fairly strenuous on our bodies, minds, and spirits, and yoga can be a great antidote to that. “I run, lift weights, and hike for my physical fitness,” she says. “I do yoga as a way to counterbalance the other things that I do. If someone is only using yoga for a physical practice, it’s very likely that they’re not receiving the full benefits of what a yoga practice has to offer.”