Q: Why do you think yoga so popular today?
Beth Shaw: Blame it on Madonna! But Seriously people need a kinder, gentler way to exercise. It offers so many benefits and options - great for the body, the mind and the spirit.
Q: Somehow your YogaButt program does not sound "kinder or gentler"
A: OK you got me - YogaButt is neither - it's a kick ass workout that makes you sweat and lifts your butt. Its incredibly popular and great fun.
" You should really practice [yoga] at least 3 times per week to see benefits
However even a short 10 minute session when you sit at your desk and work over a computer all day can be extremely beneficial - like any exercise some is better than none. "
Q: What are the top types of yoga, most commonly practiced in the US?
A: The top three styles are:
YogaFit: safe user-friendly fitness oriented flow style practiced at about 85% of all health clubs in the U.S. Offers modifications and options - suitable for all levels
Bikram: Practiced mostly at Bikram studios - a sequence of 26 postures, each done twice with the room heated to about 114 degrees Fahrenheit . Challenging and hot - good for detox.
Ashtanga: Practiced at traditional yoga studios - a rigorous set of flowing postures that create strength and flexibility. Not for beginners
Q: There's less movement to the practice, how does yoga therefore strengthen and tone the muscles in the body?
A: By working systematically using flowing moves and static holds, strength, endurance, balance and flexibility result. Yoga uses all the muscles in isometric holds. Aerobic conditioning comes into play with deep breathing and anaerobic work is done by holding postures for longer periods of time. It is the perfect exercise for body, mind and spirit.
Q: Can someone use yoga as the primary form of exercise and still get benefit?
A: Yes it is the perfect stand-alone exercise and an even better cross-training tool - cardiovascular activity like walking, running or cycling are best in combination with a yoga program.
Q: Can yoga be a cardio workout?
A: It can be depending on the style - YogaFit, Ashtanga and YogaButt in particular offer cardio benefits
Q: What are the benefits of yoga to athletes?
A: As we mentioned, yoga is the perfect cross training tool and helps balance out imbalances caused by other activity - for example - running creates tight hamstrings, sore hips and tense quads- Yoga postures can help loosen the hamstrings, open the hips and relax the legs - Yoga is great for cross-training!
Q: How often should someone practice yoga to see major benefit?
A: You should really practice at least 3 times per week to see benefits - if you open the body and don't stay consistent it will tighten back up again - every other day would be ideal. However even a short 10 minute session when you sit at your desk and work over a computer all day can be extremely beneficial - like any exercise some is better than none.
" [The misconception is] that you need to be flexible, that you need to be a pretzel, that you can't eat pretzels (or drink beer) if you are practicing. That [yoga is] a religion - it's not, and you can - not everyone can live on top of a mountain and eat tree bark either… You can still do yoga! "
Q: What's the biggest misconception of yoga?
A: That you need to be flexible, that you need to be a pretzel, that you can't eat pretzels (or drink beer) if you are practicing. That it's a religion - it's not and you can - not everyone can live on top of a mountain and eat tree bark either… You can still do yoga!
Q: If someone is just starting a yoga program do you suggest a video or an actually "live" class?
A: Videos are great for learning the basics and getting comfortable before venturing out to the gym or a studio. A class is also great to for motivation, group energy and having someone watch your form and advise you on your progress.
Q: What should one look for in an instructor or a class?
A: Look for a teacher who encourages individuality and modifications. To assume that everyone in a class can do or should do the pose in the same way is a ridiculous assumption- everyone's got a different body and different levels of flexibility. A teacher realizes that and accommodates accordingly. A good class should be safe - offering warm up, work and cool down phases. A good teacher never aggressively adjusts or belittles a student to make them feel less than successful. A great teacher helps people move at their own pace -
Q: How has yoga affected your life?
A: Its given me the opportunity to give back, support the fitness community, make a difference in people lives and see some really cool places around the World. It has transformed every aspect of my life - I am a type A person from New York City so you can just imagine
Q: What's the best city for Yoga?
A: Anywhere there's a YogaButt Class [smile].
Q: Why do you do yoga?
A: Running a business , even a yoga business is incredibly stressful - yoga keeps me balanced.
About Beth Shaw Beth Shaw is the Founder/ Creator and CEO of YOGAFIT Training Systems Inc. The leader in Mind Body Education, YogaFit has trained over 100,000 Fitness Instructors in 6 Continents. Beth is the author of YOGAFIT ( Human Kinetics 2001 ) a best seller. She has appeared on numerous television programs including ShowTimes Penn & Teller, E'Style Network and major networks. Beth is a frequent contributor to fitness magazines and a huge animal rights advocate. Her organization Visionary Women In Fitness gives scholarships and grants. Beth is responsible for many innovative yoga hybrid programs such as YogaButt, YogaCore and YogaStrength.
Visit the Author's website at: www.yogafit.com
Back to More Mind Body Fitness Articles