Advanced Yoga Practices

Main lessons

by Yogani

Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 80 - Physical Fitness and Yoga

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, “Why This Discussion?”

From: Yogani
Date: Sun Jan 11, 2004 4:42pm

Q: What is the relationship of physical fitness and yoga? I would think the muscle building that is so popular is not very compatible.

A: There are many definitions of fitness. As they say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

For purposes of spiritual practice, fitness means keeping the body in good tone and flexible externally and internally, which can be done with daily walking or other light aerobic-style exercise, light calisthenics & isometrics for all muscle groups, and, of course, yoga asanas. Something like tai chi is also good, which builds a good connection between the physical and spiritual dimensions of us in a grounding way.

Click here for instructions on the AYP Aerobic and Muscle Toning Exercises

For the body builder (or any physically oriented athlete) that is not enough. He or she will want to do much more with the muscles. The practices must be aimed at the goal.

For spiritual practice, the things mentioned above are enough. For other definitions of fitness it will be something else.

By the way, there is no rule that says a body builder or any other kind of athlete cannot become a yogi or yogini. There is nothing that says one can’t do both if so inclined. It is just a question of what one’s interests are. I believe in free choice and in each taking personal responsibility for their life. I try to keep that idea out in front in all these lessons.

That’s why every lesson ends with,

The guru is in you.

Note: See the AYP Easy Lessons book and Asanas, Mudras and Bandhas book, and AYP Plus for instructions with illustrations for beginning an asana routine.

These lessons on yoga are reproduced from