Until only recently, yoga was hardly considered to be a tool to help elite athletes improve their skills in their sport. Yoga was considered by many to be something that the Tibetan Monks did regularly, while some hippies on the west coast may have done some poses on occasion as well.
In the last 20 years or so, however, yoga has become a lot more mainstream. Many high profile athletes in virtually every sport sing the praises of the benefits that they have seen since adding yoga into their training regimen.
As it turns out, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to enjoy the benefits that yoga can have for you in whatever it is that you do. Check out this post from Ms. Carolyn Fallon about some of the many benefits she has seen since she began practicing yoga on a regular basis.
Considering that I am only five years from reaching thirty, I try my best to stay as fit as possible. I have always enjoyed all types of cardio exercises and sports, for I always felt that these types of activities were the ones I needed to keep my body healthy and toned. Once I began college, the exercises and sports I participated in began to develop a new purpose, and this purpose was that they were now a stress-relieving mechanism for me. It was not until my best friend told me about yoga that I realized how much yoga exercise could help me improve my mind and improve my performance in all of the sports that I enjoyed.
My favorite sport has always been soccer. My dad put me in the sport when I was twelve. Occasionally, I still participate in soccer matches with an adult league. The difference between now and when I was twelve is that I am so much more competitive now. I am constantly trying to find new ways to increase my strength and I was so glad when I noticed how much yoga was helping me to increase my strength, little by little. Once I began taking yoga classes, my upper body strength increased dramatically. By practicing Ashtanga yoga, I was able to improve my strength and get a great cardio workout. Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Glen Axelrod states, “Many professional athletic teams use yoga as an integral part of their training.”
The sport that I participate in the most is running. To run, a person not only has to be physically fit, but the person must also have the mental ability to run. Yoga greatly improves a person’s focus and concentration. Yoga has allowed me to have greater focus when running and my distance has doubled. Before getting ready to run, I practice my meditation and breathing exercises. Since I began to practice these exercises, I have steadily improved my overall time when running marathons. Although my improvement is partially physical, it is also mental because I am more focused when beginning the marathon.
As mentioned previously, running has been the sport that I participate in the most. However, for about two years, I was unable to participate in as many 5K races as I desired. I was steadily injuring some part of my body during or after each event. As a result, I wasn’t running nearly as much as I wanted and got very depressed. It’s been shown that yoga reduces risks of injury. I had always stretched before and after running, but yoga poses allowed my muscles and tendons to be more relaxed; therefore, more blood and oxygen traveled to my muscles.
Many people do not realize all of the benefits of yoga. I can attest that yoga can increase a person’s strength, improve a person’s focus, and reduce a person’s chances of getting injured.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid spinner, healthy cooking enthusiast and lover of life. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!