My yoga teacher training included studying the Principles of exercise. These apply to every type of exercise and training and I’m exploring how these apply to yoga.
What are the Principles of Exercise?
These are rules of how physical fitness can be improved and how it can decline. They tell us how to train effectively to lead to improvements.They are:
- Overload – to improve fitness you need to work a little harder than the body is used to. Follow the FITT Principle to achieve this ( see below)
- Progressive – The overload needs to get progressively harder as the body soon gets used to working at a level
- Specificity – Different exercises produce different results. To improve at your yoga you need specific training which may or may not improve other sports or activities.
- Reversibility – Your response to training will decline if you don’t keep it up. Use it or loose it!
- Adaptability – How the body adapts to specific training
- Recovery Time – You need 24 to 48 hours off between training to improve fitness. Fitness improvements don’t happen without rest.
- Plateau – This happens when you stop getting fitter. To improve you need to change one of the FITT principle factors
- Regression – If you take a break your fitness will reverse and go down.
Looking at overload above, Fitt is about how you achieve it.
- Frequency, how often do you exercise?
- Intensity, how hard do you work?
- Time, How long is the session?
- Type, What type of exercise you do.
How do the Principles of Exercise apply to Yoga?
Of course, Yoga is way more than physical fitness but those who like to do yoga mainly for exercise can take advantage of these principles of exercise.
Overload – If we want to improve our fitness work at a level that is just above what the body is accustomed too.
Progression – We start off gentle and then gradually work harder over time. Some asanas (postures) are suitable for beginners and others are only for the really advanced yogis.
Specificity – Want to improve your downward dog then practice it and related postures. Playing football will not improve your Yoga as much as more yoga would.
Reversibility – Try practising Yoga regularly and then have a break. You will be surprised how difficult some of the postures suddenly appear to be.
Adaptability – Over time postures become easier as do the flows between.The body learns adapts and learns how to do them.
Individuality – Your yoga is what suits your body best. Some postures will be easier for you than for others. Some will be harder. None of us are exactly the same.
Recovery Time – Yoga practice is something for every day, however, every day does not need to be at a maximum level of exertion. If you do a very tough class one day then do a gentler stretching session the next.
Plateau – One day you will realise you are not progressing like you used to. Take a look at FITT above and think how you can change your Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type to move onwards.
Regression – If you take a break from intensive ( for you ) yoga then take it easy when you start again. Start with the gentler poses and move up as your body becomes ready.
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