Table of Contents
While both have many similarities, here are ten key differences between yoga and exercise
1. Impact on nervous system
Yoga asana activates the parasympathetic nervous system; which is the rest, relax, reset & digest mode. Hence, it feels so rejuvenating. Exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight, flight and freeze mode and hence, it feels exhaustive.
Yoga asana is a very process-oriented practice and non-competitive in nature. Exercise is a very goal-oriented practice and gets competitive in nature.
Yoga asana type is anabolic consisting of slow dynamic movements with a lot of focus on holding the poses and it is capable of conserving and building energy. Exercise type is catabolic consisting of rapid forceful movements and it is capable of breaking down energy.
4. State of health
Yoga asana practice has therapeutic healing benefits and can be practiced by sick or unhealthy people also with a proper approach. Normally, if someone is sick or unhealthy, they can’t exercise until they recover and get back to their normal health.
5. Food consumption
The practice of yoga asana reduces the metabolism and does not require any extra food supplement. In fact, one may reduce the intake of unnecessary food to maintain lightness of the body. In exercise a high amount of strength is required so the person’s appetite increases consequently requiring larger quantities of food and nutrition. Pre-workout meals are a thing!
The purpose of yoga asana is to eventually go beyond the physical body by developing higher awareness and consciousness. The purpose of exercise is to maintain good health and longevity.
During asana practice, the breathing becomes soft, long and deep and the consumption of oxygen is lowered down. During exercises, the breath becomes fast, short and shallow, which increases the consumption of oxygen.