There's much more to yoga than just funny names like "downward dog." Yoga can be an effective form of exercise in its own right, and you can also use it to complement other types of workouts. Though some yoga styles have an intensity that may not match that of some more vigorous forms of exercise, yoga can still have a significant effect on your physical and mental health. Thus, it can be an appropriate form of exercise to adopt if you suffer from overtraining syndrome. Consult your doctor before attempting to use any form of therapy or exercise to solve your medical issues.
As the name suggests, overtraining syndrome is a condition that most often occurs because of exercising too much. When you consistently perform intense workouts and don't give yourself enough time off, your entire body suffers. Your performance quality will decrease, thus making competition more difficult, and you are unable to complete workouts the way you once could. In other words, if you feel burned out, you may be overtrained.
Everyone has off days in the gym, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're suffering from overtraining syndrome. If you are in a state of overtraining, you'll know. Rather than just having one off day, all of your workouts will suffer because you'll tire more easily. You may lose enthusiasm for other activities, feel irritated easily, be more prone to injury and sickness and have more muscle soreness. Overtraining triggers unusually high levels of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, and lower levels of testosterone, a hormone that assists muscle and strength gain. These hormonal changes lead to physical and mental weakness that persists for days.
Yoga for Overtraining Relief
When you're in a state of overtraining, the last thing you want to do is perform more intense exercise. But don't worry -- yoga differs from other forms of exercise in that it doesn't aim to improve maximum cardiovascular capacity or challenge your body with high levels of resistance. Instead, yoga helps relieve stress and ease tension, which means it provides the relaxation you need when in a state of overtraining. Additionally, yoga provides an opportunity to meditate and focus your mind so you can eliminate distractions and renew your passion for exercise.
Other Yoga Benefits
If you like yoga, you don't have to wait until you're overtrained to incorporate the exercise into your workout routines. Yoga can help you improve your balance, agility and stamina -- all of which are helpful for athletic endeavors and every day life. Yoga may also help improve your flexibility and circulation, making it a well-rounded form of exercise. In fact, you may find there's really no reason not to perform yoga more often.
Best Yoga for Overtraining
Not all types of yoga are appropriate for treating overtraining, but many help promote relaxation and reduction of stress. Viniyoga is a soothing type of yoga that is gentle and focuses on deep breathing and gradual movements, which can help you deal with the stresses of overtraining. Additionally, yoga styles such as Integral and Ananda focus on eliminating tension and encouraging peace of mind.
Styles to Avoid
The last thing you need to do when overtrained is put more stress on your body and mind. Thus, you'll want to avoid a number of yoga styles. Bikram yoga is performed in very high temperatures and involves intense movements. Power yoga aims to provide an intensely challenging workout, while Ashtanga yoga is fast paced and thus does not provide the relaxation you need when you're overtrained.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.