Yoga vs. Zumba … Baseball vs. Football

I’ve had a few Yoga students leave me for Zumba, the Salsa-Aerobic workout.

I admit it. It hurt my feelings.

What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with Yoga? Why go? Stay. Stay.

I think that Yoga vs. Zumba is similar to my feelings about Baseball vs. Football.

Yoga is … Serene … Mindful … Toned … Disciplined … Careful … Graceful … Strong. Yoga is bathed in a long, rich, and often-quirky history.

Zumba is a nice work-out to some sassy music, but that’s it as far as I can tell.

(But, then I’m biased. You’ll have to check out the Zumba Girl’s blog — Football, Zumba, Life … (and she)? —  to get the other side.)

Baseball … Football … same thing.

I see baseball as this graceful game of strategy, and mindfulness, and strength, and focus. A game that treasures its own long, rich, and often-quirky history.

Football has some strategy yes, but isn’t the point really to just smoosh the other guy a little harder than he just smooshed you? (And, history is often lost, except for the occasional throwback uniform like this cute little Steelers number last Sunday … click here.)

As a massage therapist, I can tell you that I’ve had to work my way through a good number of Zumba injuries in my clients over the years. Yoga, a few, yes, not many. Likewise, I’ve got a few clients who still suffer from aches and pains from long-ago (sometimes decades-old) football collisions. Again, baseball? Ok, a few.

In an earlier post, I explained why I boycotted baseball (and even my beloved Orioles) for several seasons … disillusioned by the widespread use of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). I’m back now, although I know that, sadly, the drugs are still there.

Now, I am boycotting football and have been for the past couple seasons. (Sorry, beloved 49ers.) The distressing violence of the game, the ignorance over the long-term damage of head-to-head collisions and concussions, finally made it unbearable to watch.

But, I know I’m the minority.

The World Series hit a televised record low this year.

Really? You all missed Sergio Romo … Barry Zito … Pablo Sandoval! It was good (unless you’re a Detroit fan, then, not so much). And, you missed the free Taco Bell tacos for America … awarded when the Giants’ Angel Pagan stole a base. (I also missed it, because there’s no Taco Bell nearby).

Today on National Public Radio, Frank Deford discussed the decline of Baseball, the rise of Football. (Sadly, no discussion of Yoga vs. Zumba.)

Here it is. He’s much more eloquent than me. Hope you listen!

NPR: The American Pastime Fades In Popularity

What’s wrong with Baseball? Why go? Stay. Stay. Just 111 days until pitchers & catchers report.

8 thoughts on “Yoga vs. Zumba … Baseball vs. Football

  1. I’ve found that more and more people I know tend to be more attracted to something that delivers the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. Zumba is right up their alley. They can jump around, sweat in no time at all and feel as though they’ve really accomplished an amazing feat in short order. They can go to bed at night knowing that they’ve fulfilled their physical needs . . . after all, aren’t they tired? Aren’t their muscles aching in a good way? They can almost feel the pounds melting away as their body firms up practically overnight! Something like Zumba takes away any guilt that they may have from an otherwise non-physically demanding existence. Football is kind of like that. After a hard-hitting, exhausting game (for the players), spectators feel as though they’ve just played the entire game themselves. They can go to bed knowing that they’ve fulfilled their physical needs for the day (okay, you and I know how silly that sounds, but it’s so true!).

    Yoga is also physically fulfilling. But it requires a dedication that endures over the course of one’s lifetime. You have to actually be patient enough to allow change to occur slowly. Yoga takes more work than Zumba since it involves one’s entire being, not just muscles and sweat glands. Yoga sneaks its way in to a person. Usually, you’ll be stiff and stuck in a posture, certain that you’ll never get any more flexible or connected to the essence of the asana. This goes on and on until suddenly, one day, you realize that, lo and behold, you can actually do the entire posture without straining or stiffness. Like I said, it sneaks up on you. Baseball also moves slowly but surely in a steady fashion. The game seems to go on and on until, suddenly, it’s the 9th inning. At least, that’s how it seems to someone like me who doesn’t watch the game that much! Baseball fans seem to have more patience, more personal connection to the team and more forgiveness for a lost game than football fans (yankee fans excepted!), but, as I just said, that’s how it seems to someone who’s looking at this from the outside!

    Great blog site! I can hardly wait for the next entry!

    • I didn’t mean to be so flip about Zumba. It’s a fine workout, but I think that there is more to fitness and good health than just sustaining the body. That’s why Yoga is so fulfilling to me. And, Yoga can be as invigorating as Zumba.

      But, in the end … if Zumba gets someone up off the couch, then yay! Because that’s the most important thing and that’s why there are so many fitness options … and so many Yoga traditions … to choose from!

      Thanks for reading … and writing … and inspiring!

  2. I do BOTH! i looooove zumba and i loooove yoga. i need both. i need to smile and dance around and feel good and sweat, but at the end of everyday i need yoga. I need yoga like i need sleep. I love zumba and it makes me happy, but nothing fulfills that need for yoga. i can’t even compare the 2 because they are completely different. Your yoga students will come back in time, once they get bored with dancing around and they will start to work their schedule for both.

    • I was being too flip about Zumba … and I shouldn’t have done that. You are right … there are many varieties of fitness out there. Variety is the best, but if Zumba inspires someone to get up off the couch, then I shouldn’t poo-poo it so mindlessly.

      Jazzercise is actually much more popular in this community, and here’s the odd thing. I’ve never had a Jazzercise student come in with an injury; but I’ve had a good handful of Zumba injury clients. I don’t know if that’s because of the instructor’s training, the style of workout, or perhaps it’s just too strenuous for some people.

      But, you are correct and put it quite well … they are completely different, and I shouldn’t have been so quick to write off Zumba. Clearly it had been pecking away at the back of my mind!

      Thanks for reading … and writing … and for having a very nice fitness blog that you are doing!

      • thank you!!! and no worries!!! i feel the same way in a lot of ways, i do barre and yoga more than anything…and sometimes when i fit zumba in the middle of all that, i start to develop really bad knee pain…possibly from the jumping and sliding of my feet putting pressure on my knees. i can always be thankful to have yoga and have it through any injuries that may occur. i had barre class this morning and now I’m getting ready for yoga tonight i can’t wait!!

  3. One of my favorite quotes is from the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes, “to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die……”. Of course it was also a song by the Byrds in the ’60’s. So of course there’s a time to dance and laugh, and a time to be still and quiet. I think yoga has become so important for so many of us because our lives are so hectic and we don’t have (or take) the time to just be still and listen to our inner voice. We’re so busy doing, and not taking the time to just notice. It’s subtle, but so important, and yoga gives us the tools to just stop and pay attention to ourselves in a nurturing way. The problem is, our societal norm is one of “no pain, no gain”, “gotta go, go, go all the time”. Yoga requires patience, an attention to detail, and a looking inward, that we are often loathe to do. It makes it a little tougher sell, which is why hot yoga, vinyasa, power core kind of stuff has become so popular. They play on that “no pain, no gain” mentality. There’s a time and a place for both. I love an intense workout too. But I need the quiet too to bring it all into balance.

    btw, I love George Carlin’s comparison of baseball and football. Brilliant!
    I hope I haven’t put that Byrds song in your head : )

    • I LOVE the Byrds … so having their song in my head is a-ok!

      I have some hot Yoga disciples in one of my Vinyasa classes. They were very strident in their love of Bikram, but now I think they see the value of a different style of Yoga, too; so they do my class AND Bikram.

      They were talking about their hot Yoga before class last night and I finally got to use the line I’ve been waiting for …

      “Hey, the team that does Bikram Yoga (Washington Nationals) choked in the playoffs. The team that does ‘our’ Yoga (Barry Zito/SF Giants) won the World Series. You decide!”

      They gave me points for that observation! :)

      But, you are so right … I spend more time encouraging my students to take the quiet, the introspection, and the careful focus as seriously as a Warrior pose. It’s so hard to get out the competition with ourselves!

      But, that’s why it’s always practice … practice … practice!

      Thanks for writing … and reading … and lending this blog the most coolest, awesomest Om-Baseball avatar!

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