What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think yoga?
Is it this?
While yoga has been quite a stereotype for heaven knows how long, it has actually become all the rage with today's professional athletes. Numerous professional ballplayers have begun to add different kinds of yoga to their training regimens not only for the benefits of lean muscle strength and flexibility, but for rehabilitation.
It's not an unknown fact that once an athlete begins getting older, certain forms of training don't cut it anymore and injuries could actually begin to build and settle in. It is, however, a known fact that something as simple as meditation can center the body and help it restore some peace in muscles and vital organs. Yoga takes that a step further. While some of the poses look absolutely painful and redundant, the practice of breathing and focusing on core parts of your body not only builds your physical strength, but your mental willpower as well. You will legitimately feel like a warrior after going 20 minutes in a hatha yoga session.
How do I know all of this stuff?
I meditate and do yoga, and I'm darned proud of it.
What, did you think I was going to put a picture of myself doing yoga up here? Uh-uh honey, that's not how things work around here. Anyway.
The main issue that has risen before all of the athletic rushes toward the practice was yoga was only for girls and old people. It couldn't be farther from the truth, men. I'm more than certain that you could lift cars if you wanted to, but are you flexible or disgustingly stiff? Just because you can lift doesn't necessarily mean you're strong. The practice of yoga helps along with metabolic processes in the muscles and makes them much more effective (and way nicer, coming from a woman's point of view). Plus, it also aids in secreting chemicals in the body to relieve pain and stiffness. That's why you normally see older folk practice arts like yoga or feng shui since they use basic movements to improve the quality of life.
From what I've read, yoga in professional sports training is spreading like wildfire. Well-known athletes like David Ortiz, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James are avid yogis and have used it in their rehab and workouts. It seems to be working pretty well, especially for KG and Ortiz who are getting higher in age (and wisdom). Heck, even coaches practice yoga. Duke's Coach K makes it a part of his routine. With the usual amount of stress that he goes through, yoga definitely has to come in handy. Other athletes like rugby players and professional wrestlers (more famously) have greatly benefited from yoga, as their inclination to nagging injuries is higher and something that doesn't require equipment can be done anywhere at any time. Former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page has even gone on to create his own yoga program called DDPYoga, focused on weight loss and the rejuvenation of overall lifestyle. His program alone has generated a lot of success stories and has been featured on television programming. If it works for the average everyday person, it definitely has to work for athletes, right?
It all starts with breathing. You can stretch whenever you want, but to get the full benefit of it, you have to want it. Athletes strive to be as healthy and as in shape as possible, so something like this requires discipline. Constant work and determination builds on that discipline and provides strength physically, mentally, and emotionally. For a portable workout like yoga, it provides more benefits than you would think. Are we starting to take this practice a little more seriously since we're seeing some good sides of the practice? I should hope so. If you're looking for a way to begin getting fit somehow, start with your mind. You see what it does to your favorite athletes, so what would it hurt?
Don't worry, people! It's okay to namaste!