Most of the exercises we do in group fitness classes have roots in traditional yoga practices. The exercises that we do today are nothing but modernized versions of a more profound practice. However, the difference between yoga postures and the exercises done in group fitness classes is that the former focus on specific things.
These include the integration of the mind and body, constant flowing movements, prolonged isometric holds and breath work. So if you want to enhance your group fitness classes, try incorporating these four simple yoga flows:
Balance is the basis of all strength and movements. Unfortunately, balance isn't part of most static positions.
You may be able to balance yourself on one leg well, but when you think about it, most of us don't fall when we stand still. Instead, we tend to lose our balance more when we're adjusting, transitioning or moving. Therefore, the key to building the right balance and coordination is to develop your power, master your transitions and enhance your dynamic balance.
The design of this flow focuses on all these things. Each pose would challenge your body differently as you shift your weight through all the transitions.
When doing the poses, make sure to press your toes on the ground firmly to activate your feet. This is important since balance starts from the ground and moves up. Balance flow poses include utkaasana, utthita hasta padangusthasana, dekasana and vriksasana.
Most people know that yoga can help improve flexibility, and a lot of the static stretches used in fitness classes are yoga poses.
The flexibility flow specifically focuses on your thoracic spine, as this part is usually neglected yet crucial for your back and rib cage movements. Yoga poses included in the flexibility flow include marjaryasana or bitilasana, parsva balasana and parighasana.
Usually, when you think of strength, you focus on counting your reps until you feel "the burn." Instead, it's better to focus on your breathing while performing the strength flow. You should get in touch with all the muscles of your body from two different perspectives — namely opening and strengthening.
Move as you breathe and this will help improve your mind-body connection. Yoga poses that are part of the strength flow are setu bandha sarva gasana, purvottanasana and navasana.
Breathing and Relaxation
Finally, this flow will help make your group fitness classes more of a yoga experience. Following a breath-to-movement connection will improve both your mind and body. If you focus on your breathing, you can calm your nervous system and mind. This, in turn, will give you a profound sense of relaxation.
Performing the breathing and relaxation flow would be an excellent way to wrap up an intense group fitness workout session. Deep breathing techniques can help you cool down. These will also help you remember to slow down as well as appreciate everything around them.
There are no yoga poses for this flow — only a simple breathing exercise called "The Long Exhale." This is a type of breathing practice with a 1:2 ratio in favor of the exhalation. As time goes by, you can start making the duration of your inhale and exhale longer.