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Stretching vs. Yoga — Understanding the Differences

Whereas a stretching and yoga routine may have the same aims, it is also possible that they have very different goals. For instance, stretching can help you recover from an injury, become more flexible, improve your athletic performance, or target a particular problem area like your lower back. In contrast, whereas yoga is often for flexibility and focus, it can also be for strength, posture, and balance.

Although stretching and yoga have a few overlaps, they are two very different practices. For this reason, they both may have a place in your fitness routine. To understand the difference, first of all, let’s look at how they are similar: 

  • Both relieve tightness in muscles. 
  • Both can engage the entire body. 
  • They can have some of the same goals. 

Here the similarities end.

Ok, what about the main difference?

Stretching involves holding a position. You work on lengthening the muscle until you are stretching to the maximum. You push your body to the point just before it becomes uncomfortable, often leading to a release in tension.

A yoga workout can be in the form of a flow, moving from one pose to another. Sometimes you hold a pose for several breaths. Sometimes you change from one to another quite rapidly. It means that, although yoga can be relaxing, in other cases, it can cause your heart rate to rise. 

Ability Levels

Anyone can practice yoga just as anyone can (and should) stretch. However, yoga workouts are designed for different ability levels. Some poses take many years to achieve and are impossible before your body has developed the necessary strength and openness.

Stretching is accessible to everyone. Although you may find that you cannot get deep into some stretches, you will receive the same benefits as someone who is exceptionally flexible in the same muscle.

When choosing between stretching vs. yoga, you need to decide what you are looking to gain from the practice. If you want to add an extra workout to your training that focuses on breathing, strength, and balance, among other things, opt for yoga. However, If you want to improve performance with regular exercise, return after an injury, or improve your flexibility in a particular body area, stretching is the better option. At AirGym.Family, we focus on creating a unique and tailored assisted stretching program to aid your overall health.