Have you jumped on the yoga bandwagon yet? All athletes can reap enormous benefits from doing yoga. Yoga is a series of body poses that aid in breathing control, meditation, and is a typical exercise for relaxing and improving overall health. Yoga has its roots in India and is over 5,000 years old.
If you’re a beginner, you need to bring your mind, body, and spirit and that’s all! You may want to wear shorts or yoga leggings and a tee shirt that isn’t too large. No shoes are required, and most studios provide mats; however, you may also bring your own if that works best. You want to refrain from eating a meal for two or three hours before class. With so much bending and turning, you might otherwise experience some embarrassing moments. If you get hungry, try something that digests quickly, like yogurt, a handful of nuts or some juice.
It’s interesting to note that yoga has been studied as a method of intervention for heart disease, cancer, asthma, and schizophrenia. Sadly, the results are not conclusive; however, some cancer patients reported that the practice was helpful with their mental and emotional healing process.
Yoga primarily follows four guiding principles:
- A discipline to attain a goal
- A methodology to control mind and body
- An experience of improving consciousness
- A meditation medium
One of the best benefits is the reduced risk of injury. Injuries are often caused by a lack of flexibility. If you’re a runner or cyclist, you are making lots of repetitive motions and developing a single muscle group. That can lead to overuse of some muscles and create an imbalance with your remaining muscles. Added yoga benefits include:
- Improved strength because you are consistently supporting your body weight.
- We’ve already mentioned greater flexibility, and that applies to any sport because it’s useful for your full range of motion.
- Balance enhancements aid in the prevention of falls. Many yoga poses improve overall balance skills. You learn to be more free and bendable like a tree in the wind that bends but doesn’t break.
- Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to improve their endurance? You learn how to become one with your mind and body, which creates a more serene environment and aids in your ability to accurately pace yourself. Remember the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race!
- There aren’t many yoga poses that don’t improve your core strength and that means a healthy body and back.
- We all have stabilizing muscles all over our bodies, and they help to protect our joints. Yoga poses strengthen our stabilizers, and most other workouts do not cover those muscles.
- Just as it helps prevent injuries, yoga can also expedite healing. Athletes, customarily spend a lot of time contracting our muscles. Yoga is an excellent counterpoint to that because it stretches out our muscles.
Perhaps the most significant benefit is the peace of mind you can attain. It positively impact all aspects of your life when you learn to stop forcing things and allow yourself to move and think more freely. You may also find it easier to concentrate and focus on the matters at hand.
When we talk about overused muscles, it means that in some cases, the motions used in the sport are repeatedly using the same muscle group. When those muscles tire, they look to other muscles to pick up the slack, and those muscles are not intended to support that type of exercise. This is the time when you become most susceptible to injury. The most common include:
- Hip Flexors
- Iliotibial Band (ITB is an injury associated with your thigh and knee)
No More Excuses
There are many excuses you can find not to do yoga; however, we can overcome all your objections, so no more excuses!
- But I’m not flexible! That’s the point; yoga is going to help you become increasingly flexible. You may feel tight at the beginning, but you loosen up the more you do.
- But, yoga conflicts with my religious beliefs! Yoga isn’t related to religion. People of all sex, gender, culture, and religions benefit practice yoga. It merely helps you get your mind and body aligned. You may find that yoga improves your spirituality.
- But, I’m too busy! We know, everyone is active, but you can carve out a little time from something else in your life to give yoga a try. Less television maybe? You’ll be glad you made the trade!
- But, I’m too old! Oh, no you’re not! There are yoga classes specifically designed for older bodies that just don’t work the same way they once did.
- But, I have too many existing ailments and injuries! There are yoga classes committed to specific illnesses, like backs, chronic pain, sleeping disorders, stress and even cancer. Just a quick internet search and you can find a class made with you in mind.
- But, I don’t look like a yogi! Good grief! Who knows what a yogi looks like ya’ll? You’re going to have to do much better than this lame excuse.
- But, yoga intimidates me! All yoga students go through this initial phase of self-consciousness. Not to worry, you quickly see that people performing yoga are concentrating on themselves and their positions, you are not in their minds.
- But, I’m not a vegetarian! Silly goose, you don’t have to be into veggies at all! Ahimsa is the philosophy associated with yoga, and it means “no harm to self or others.”
Okay, what else ya’ got? We told you, no more buts! So, hustle your butt and get yourself to a yoga class designed specifically for any special needs you may have. Do it today and let us know how your first class goes. What’s your favorite pose? What makes it your favorite? Tell us what you think about yoga in the comments section below.