Difference between Yoga and Exercise

Key difference: Yoga is a discipline aimed at integrating a person’s physical, mental and spiritual fitness. Exercise means any physical activity that stimulates the vital organs of the body, nourishes them and strengthens them.

Yoga is an ancient discipline which is followed across the world today. It first originated in India, more than 6,000 years ago. It is the result of the Yoga sutra, a book written by Maharishi Patanjali, who was one of the great ascetics in his time. Patanjali compiled all his knowledge about the discipline of making one’s mind, body and soul into one, and so he concocted the yoga sutra, which translates to the science of unification, from Sanskrit.

Yoga involves many sitting and standing exercises that have breath inhaling and exhaling activities as their focus. These exercises are called as Asanas. India’s great saint and philosopher, Swami Vivekananda is often credited for making yoga a part of western civilization, and eventually all parts of the world, when he disseminated this knowledge on his visit to the United States back in the year 1890. In present times, yoga’s multiple branches such as Vinayasa yoga, Hatha yoga, Prananyama, etc., are exclusively practiced by people aiming at their various individual goals achievable thereby.

Exercise can be defined as any physical activity which contributes in maintaining the physical health and well being of a person. Unlike yoga, which is aimed at the physical, mental and spiritual growth of a person, exercise is concerned only with the physical aspect of the human body. According to experts, many internal body organs and systems such as the digestive system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, etc. are enriched and boosted by exercising regularly. In fact, helps limit and ward off many diseases and disorders such as cholesterol imbalance, obesity, indigestion, etc.

There are many forms of exercises which are followed and practiced by people all over the world. Some exercises are devoted to a limited number of body parts, while some exercises engage all parts of the body at once. Activities such as swimming, jogging, skipping, sports like football, tennis, badminton, etc. are all types of exercises. Specific workouts such as gym, aerobics, dance, etc. are also other forms of exercise. The various asanas practiced in yoga can also be classified as exercises.

Therefore, yoga and exercise are separate entities, but do resemble each other in that they contribute to the physical health of people.

Comparison between Yoga and Exercise:

 

Yoga

Exercise

Flexibility

By the practice of yoga the body become flexible

By exercise, body becomes stiff and inflexible.

Nerves

Nerves are energized.

Exercises affect only muscles, not nerves.

Blood Purification

Yoga removes all impurities from the blood.

Does not impact the purification of Blood.

Breathing

Harmonized breathing is observed and breathing is regulated.

Unregulated breathing is observed after the practice.

Digestion

Digestion improves by the regular practice of Yoga

Digestion becomes weak as blood supply to other parts of the body increases

Benefits to organs

Affects internal organs as well.

Only external muscles get benefited.

Overall benefit

All the bodies including the spiritual ones get benefited

Only Physical body gets benefited.

Energy centers

With yoga this energy center of the body is protected.

Does not affect any energy centers.

Diseases

Yoga is helpful to over come Diseases.

Diseases are not eliminated through exercise

Attributes

Attributes like tolerance, self-control, self-confidence are automatically developed

Only physical attributes are acquired.

Behavior

Through the practice of Yoga a man's behavior changes for the good.

Integrity and behavioral changes are not achieved.

Equipment

No equipment is needed and yoga can be done in little space.

Equipment and large spaces are needed.

Age

There is no Age limitation for yoga practice

Old people cannot practice Exercises.

Image Courtesy: projectgirlgetfit.com, csuchico.edu

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