Calisthenics is a form of exercise involving a number of rhythmical movements and stretches, generally without using equipment or apparatus. It is intended to increase body strength and flexibility with movements using only one’s body weight for resistance. When performed vigorously and with variety, calisthenics can benefit both muscular and cardiovascular fitness, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility and coordination.
So what's the difference between calisthenics and yoga?
As Tom explained in class the other night, yoga differs from calisthenics in that you go into each posture slowly, you find your max, breathe, then come out of the posture more slowly than you went in.
Think about this carefully the next time you are coming out of a posture. In Standing Head to Knee Pose, for example, you will hear the teacher tell you to reverse each step as you come out of it. Take the time to come out of each step of the posture as slowly and carefully as you went in.
Once you've reached your max
through breathing and touching your forehead to the floor in Standing
Separate Leg Stretching and it's time to come out of the posture, think
about raising your forehead off of the floor even more slowly than when you tried touching it to the floor.
One of the fundamental things that takes yoga beyond what
calisthenics offers is the focus on the breath. In yoga, the breath is constantly and consciously moving in and out slowly through the nose. The breath is what links the mind with body. Move your breath to find your max in a posture, and move your breath to come out of a posture.
Remember to keep your focus on your breath, and always come out of the postures slowly.