You want to improve in your favorite sports, have more alertness and stamina at work, or be more present at home? Yoga is an amazing practice that can complement all of our other activities.
So, here is the low-fi low-down on yoga. The word “Yoga” is a Sanskrit word that suggests union through yoking body, mind, and spirit. The unity of these three aspects of self helps us have a clearer perspective and practical understanding of what it means to be us. The yoga poses, called Asanas, are designed to bring awareness to the mind, strength and wellness to the body, and to promote the fluid circulation of energy. Yoga also optimizes our range of motion in our joints, makes all muscles both strong and flexible, and helps remove toxins from the body.
Certain sports or activities emphasize repetitive action in isolated areas of the body which can create physical imbalances. A good example of this is the disproportionate use of lower-body muscles to upper- body muscles in activities like running or cycling. Yoga is a complete body experience and will help to mitigate some of these imbalances caused by the sustained repetitive action in isolated areas. Runners and cyclists will love yoga because it will balance out their upper-body with lower-body. They will also love yoga for what it does to increase strength and flexibility in the muscles they use regularly.
Breathing correctly is essential in any sport or activity. Yoga places a large emphasis on breathing. This deliberate breathing practice increases lung capacity and helps athletes also be aware of breathing while performing their sport. Sports aside, in regular every-day life it is common to forget about breathing. Do you ever breath shallowly or catch yourself holding your breath? Shallow breath or holding breath is a major cause of tension and compounds stress. Yoga will help you breathe easier in all aspects of life.
Yoga also helps us cultivate the right mental space to be able to enjoy our favorite sport, especially if you are competing or are engaged in endurance sports where your mind has to be focused and spirit has to be tough. Yoga helps us train our minds to be present in what we’re doing. This presence will help us prevent injury and help us make those split-second decisions that can sometimes make all the difference in a competition.
Balance Steadiness and Ease
Perhaps the most helpful principle we practice in yoga that we can also apply to our favorite activities and every-day living is the principle of balancing everything with steadiness and ease. Being mindful of these principles will help us to negotiate when it’s time to put work down and go out and get to a yoga class or hit a trail or grab your bike. It will also let you know when you’ve worked hard and it’s time to head to a restore yoga class or crack a cold one on the porch.
Here is what M. Fischer, a mom, energy worker, and powerful Ironman Triathlete, says about yoga:
“I used to use yoga as a balance with the rigors of Ironman training. Now it is my centering time in my ambitious schedule of working full time plus in a demanding career, being my toddler's best and favorite mommy, and getting a decent workout in if the stars align. Both then and now, yoga is my one time to focus totally and completely on tucking my stressed and scattered thoughts back inside my body. It's like reconciling, not my check book, but my energy book. I spent this much here. I spent this much there. I have this much left to spend. I get it all straight while I challenge my body, I breathe, I listen while in Savasana, and then I know how best to move forward.”
So come and practice yoga with and see how it can complement all the other things you do in life.
Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, or traveling to teach, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats and trainings in places like Tuscany, France, and Hong Kong , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program