Never athletic, sporty or fit, I've gone through life neglecting the health and fitness aspect of it because I was to lazy to lift a finger. I attempted to improve my body a couple of times in the last few years. I tried a membership to the top gym in the metro in college, badminton after graduation, and swimming after I realized I don't have the patience to gather everybody everytime for a badminton session or inflict myself with pain at the gym. Swimming is the only one I stuck to but I can't do it everyday as constant exposure to the sun and chlorine is not healthy for the skin. However this year, I gave fitness another shot when I picked up a health magazine lying in our house. The article that motivated me was about yoga, it's benefits and why it's the workout that might just work for me. I'm never one who has the discipline to stick with something I don't enjoy, and yes, that also applies to exercise.

Yoga, as we all know, is aimed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. Yogis view that the mind and the body are one, and that if it is given the right yoga kit and tools and taken to the right environment, it can find harmony and heal itself. Yoga therefore is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body's posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress stricken environment. This is one of the foremost reasons why people want to start practicing Yoga - to feel fitter, be more energetic, be happier and peaceful. 


Back in March 2010 at a resort doing morning yoga sequence
 
I'm proud to say that at last, I've found my perfect workout routine. So as the blog title suggests, here's why I chose yoga over all the other workout routines and practices out there. If you're anything like me, you might find the following reasons appealing to you, too. 
  • Yoga's approach is holistic, emphasizing balance in all areas - equally strengthening all muscle groups, creating mental and physical balance, encouraging moderation in everything. 
  • My weight fluctuates a couple of times in the past years and yoga combats saggy skin by toning my muscles all over. 
  • I might be the least flexible person you know, so it only makes sense that I need yoga to make me flexible. 
  • I can do yoga anywhere I want, anytime I want. I don't need any equipment or machinery. I invested on a good mat though to emphasize my commitment to the practice. 
  • The mind, body and spirit connection from Yoga trains my mind to concentrate, listen to the body and be at peace. 
  • There's less risk of injury compared to other exercises. 
  • Yoga practice is meditation itself, which lessens stress for a worrier like me. 
  • It improves my overall circulation, which is crucial for maintaining good skin. 
  • After every yoga session, there's an overwhelming feeling of well-being in calm. Who doesn't want that?
All these benefits, I derive from yoga but experts say it's best done in conjunction with other exercises and routines. Yoga also promotes weight reduction but you're better off doing cardio exercises such as jogging, running and swimming for faster weight loss. You might also want to pair yoga with weight training if you want to tone muscles at a faster rate. 

There are also other similar practices like yoga, the closest one being Pilates. If you want an exercise that improves flexibility while toning your muscles - especially those abs - then Pilates is probably your better choice. If you want to concentrate a bit more on flexibility and a little less on toning (perhaps you're getting your strength training elsewhere), and you are also searching for something that helps reduce stress and gives you an opportunity for some quiet time, then you should opt for Yoga. 

Interested to try yoga and find out if it's for you? Here are some studios I've tried that I recommend. Click on the links for their rates and promos. They have discounted rates for new comers and for the month of December, a free trial at Bikram Yoga Manila.

Bliss Yoga
28/F of Trident Tower Penthouse 312 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.
Tel No: (63 2) 753 1954; Mobile: 0926 711 7462 

Bikram Yoga Manila
15/F, 88 Corporate Center 141 Valero Street corner Sedeño Streets Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Tel No: (63 2) 889 0126; E-mail: makati@bikramyogamanila.com 

Pulse Studio Makati
2289 UPRC III Building, Pasong Tamo Ext.1231, Makati City.
Tel No: (63 2) 468 4165; Mobile: +63917 83PULSE

Yoga makes me feel better about myself and the world. That's a pretty amazing feeling I wouldn't want to let go of.