On this blog the past couple weeks, we have been talking about New Years Resolutions. I know that many of you have probably made resolutions to lose weight or get stronger, but today I want to tell you why starting a yoga practice should be added to your list of resolutions.
I have worked with all different types of athletes as a yoga instructor and personal trainer. And although some of them fight me on this, I tell everyone that practicing yoga is a must. Today I am telling you the same thing. Here is why…
Yoga will help increase your flexibility and mobility. Life is uneven. We lean to one side as we stand, drive with one foot, write with one hand, and basically always start movements with one side of the body. This is normal and typically unavoidable. Life will always be uneven, and there is nothing we can do about it. So we all need to incorporate some practice that will help loosen up overactive muscles and increase the mobility in muscles that are tight and disrupting everyday movements. Yoga will help you stretch all those muscles that are hard to stretch. A solid yoga practice should help you open up your hips, loosen up your shoulders, and strengthen your core so it can keep your posture strong.
Yoga will help fix the kinks in your body so you never need to see a chiropractor again. Going to the doctor to get adjusted will help solve your problems for a month or two. But what would you say if I told you that I could solve your problems forever? Yoga helps fix the problems instead of putting a Band-Aid over them for the time being. In order to really heal the body of all of it’s issues, you must stretch and twist and get adjusted through movement.
In addition to the amazing physical benefits, a yoga practice can do wonders for mental health. From meditative, slow-paced yoga to faster, workout style practices… yoga can clear the mind. The breathing and mind-body connection of yoga can help you forget about the stressors in your life. If you truly let go in a yoga class, you will feel free after savasana. It can be very difficult to truly let yourself melt into your flow, but the more you practice – the more freeing it can be. When you focus on nothing but your breath, all the bothers in life seem to disappear. Even if this feeling doesn’t last for more than an hour before life gets hectic again, those moments of relief are necessary to stay mentally healthy.
Finally, yoga is a great form of cross training to help challenge your muscles in a different way. Many boxers and power lifters take my yoga classes because they know the movements will help strengthen their muscles for their sport as well as loosen up the muscles that allow them to have harder punches and swifter lifts. The hip-opening aspects of yoga can help all athletes that kick or run in their sport. The increased shoulder mobility will help those athletes who throw and punch. Depending on the type of yoga you choose to practice, it also may help you lose weight and strengthen different muscles that you normal don’t touch on in other activities.
There are many benefits to a yoga practice. Luckily there are hundreds of different yoga styles, and every instructor teaches differently – so there is something for everyone and every goal.