We talk a lot about cardio, HIIT, weight lifting, Crossfit and all other forms of physical activity but we often ignore a 5000-year-old practice commonly known as “Yoga”
The main reason behind this is because when most people think of this 5000-year-old practice, they get images of incense, chanting, and mystical gurus from faraway lands sitting on the floor cross-legged and chanting OM in a state deep relaxation.
Well, yoga isn’t exactly what you think it might be.
It’s no longer just a gentle exercise for your grandparents, people with injuries, or those who can’t handle a ‘real’ workout.
1. Weight training and cardiovascular activity such as running tighten and shorten the muscles while yoga lengthens and builds functional strength.
It teaches you how to use this strength effectively, so you develop muscles that not only look good in the gym but are also useable in the real world.
2. Yoga is the best medicine for preventing injuries and aiding muscle recovery and repair.
When the muscles and surrounding tissues are lengthened and relaxed during yoga asana (Sanskrit word for postures) it creates more room for blood to flow, This, in turn, attracts more oxygen to the area helping muscles to heal and grow, making them more effective for your next workout (and less sore in everyday life).
The squeezing and releasing motions the yoga postures create invite the good stuff in and push the bad stuff out.
3. Practicing yoga increases your range of motion (ROM) which is beneficial for all activities allowing you to swing further, reach higher, dip lower, step wider, etc.
With this increased range of motion (ROM), it is easy to see how you would be able to put more power and explosiveness behind your movements.
4. Yoga is different from standard stretching because it works on full muscle groups and not just isolated muscles, bringing all the little supporting muscles into the game as well.
In a recent study done by the Australian army, results actually showed that static stretching did nothing to prevent injury.
5. yoga decreases the risk of injury as well as it also increases your muscle endurance and pain threshold.
In yoga you learn correct breathing techniques that teach you how to have better control of your oxygen intake, monitoring the inhalations and exhalations allowing you to use the breath more efficiently as well as using it to move through pain.
TL;DR Yoga may be a four-letter word for a strength athlete, but it shouldn’t be. You may be as big as a house and strong as a bull, but if you lack flexibility, your training and eventually your quality of life will be compromised.
So give yoga a space in your workout routine and be a better version of you.
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