This question has been going around for some time. Which is better - Gym or Angamardana?
For those who don't know, Angamardana is a fitness yogic system offered at our studio and by other Isha qualified teachers around the world.
I have been doing Isha yoga practices for nearly 10 years now and I was a qualified fitness professional for numerous years. I have also been actively doing all kinds of sports since I could walk. I hope the following article clarifies this eternal issue :)
1) My fellow yoga practitioners often argue that exercising in a gym will leave you rigid and inflexible.
Now I don't know if they have ever actually exercised or been to a gym themselves, but that's another story.
Flexibility of a muscle and mobility of joint is not directly related to the muscle size. Flexibility and mobility is just another aspect of your body which you need to look after on regular basis.
There are countless body builders who are equally as flexible as gymnasts. And that is because they do a lot of stretching and mobility exercises on daily basis.
If you don't stretch, you will become inflexible and rigid.
If you exercise and don't stretch, you will become inflexible and rigid, a little faster.
Note 1: If you become extremely muscular, you might be limited in some yoga postures not necessarily because of your poor flexibility, but because the of the sheer size of the muscle. In other words, your muscles will be obstructing you or they will anatomically make it impossible for you to reach some postures.
Note 2: As Sadhguru mentioned, if you become very muscular, sitting with your eyes closed will become very challenging. Your own body will never be settled enough simply because of the unnatural quantity of muscles.
2) For me it seems silly to compare one specific system like Angamardana with a very extremely broad group like gym exercises or fitness.
Angamardana is a very unique and wonderful system for general health and fitness. It can prepare the body as a stepping stone to whatever we want to achieve in our life, be it climbing mountains, working or meditating. I haven't met anyone who would use Angamardana for a specific goal. That is because Angamardana isn't designed for that.
This is where fitness and working out in a gym is different. Apart from exercising for general wellbeing, countless number of specific exercises and exercise protocols can be used to achieve a specific goal. If you want to improve speed, you follow a speed training routine. If you want to get bigger muscles, you follow a weight training routine. Like this, there are thousands of different macro and micro objectives in fitness.
This doesn't put one system above the other. Angamardana is one system of exercising with certain benefits. A system coming from a yogic understanding of the body. We could put it under the large umbrella of fitness category along with thousands of other exercise systems as well as martial arts.
Angamardana can complement any other exercise system and provide a stable foundation for any activity you want to do in your life, including sports on a recreational and professional level.
Angamardana is unique because it strengthens the fundamental structure of the physical body. It works mainly on the level of your connective tissues. This means you will be less prone to ligament, tendon and joint injury. That is just one aspect of practising Angamardana regularly.
If you are a competitive athlete, then Angamardana is a fantastic way to create a resilient body and to maintain it at its peak performance.
If you are careless and don't know what you are doing, you can get injured or cause some damage doing just about anything.
If you are sensible, you can use any exercise system including Angamardana or working out in a gym to your benefit.