As a child of the 70's and 80's, I remember Jane Fonda, Olivia Newton John, Step Aerobics, Callanetics, Mad Lizzy, Jazzercise, all of those things. Then bootcamps, gyms, running, anything that made me move rapidly, raised my heart rate and toned my body. Some people think yoga isn't for them, because it doesn't move them like a HIIT class, it won't tone their muscles like a weights session. Some people think it's just rolling round a mat. I can say this, because I felt that in my twenties.
In my twenties though, I never did a headstand, handstand, arm balance. Never did repeated sun salutations. Never connected to my spine. I rocked up to my yoga class, did what I was told, probably didn't concentrate and thought that's it done for a week, I've had a nice stretch, now I'm going out for a run. Repeated Sun Salutations not only raise the heart beat, but give us a meditative practice which calms the mind (and I haven't even gone down the physical or energies perspective). As a ex-runner I felt that calming meditative movement on a long run and I feel that now during a Sun Salutation practice. Elbow dog and handstands have strengthened my arms, developed muscles, but also made me feel I can support myself fully - never got that from dumbells. Chair pose has awoken my thighs and spine, brought me into my core more than a reverse ab curl did, and made me feel grounded and connected to my feet..
Equally a strong yoga practice doesn't mean a fast yoga practice or complicated postures. A focussed practice of Warrior I will bring you an internal strength I never found in any of my "keep fit" activities; when we practice with integrity and authenticity we find a deeper connection to ourselves; to our bodies and our minds. And that calms and quietens the busy-ness, the stress, the anxiety. Takes away the pressure that makes think "Wine o'clock" which obviously has health benefits. And don't ever think "well I can't do headstands or handstands." You do a version of them if you are regularly practicing yoga - downward dog is an inversion with brings the head towards the ground, you use your arms to support you in this posture - both part of headstands and handstands. There is always a way and always a modification. Step back, look at the posture differently, step forward and have a play. Legwarmers and sweatbands optional. PS if you want to try a class that brings in stronger poses, Friday morning is that class my lovelies xxx