How to Improve your Life with Yoga

Until recently, yoga was predominantly regarded as a female form of exercise. But in the last few years, this has changed entirely. Men and women alike have begun to appreciate yoga for the intense form of workout it is. Today, we look at the phenomenal benefits it can have on both the body and the mind.

Yoga is known to increase strength, enhance the mind and improve quality of sleep – three virtues that are indispensable to each and every athlete, irrespective of sport or discipline. And with a real focus on the practice at the moment, there are new and exciting forms of yoga being created all the time. Rooftop sessions are popping up across cities worldwide, while hybrid movements such as barre and yogalates are also on the increase.  So here are a few reasons why yoga will not only improve your life, but will help you reach your full athletic potential.

Yoga will help increase your strength

Due to the nature of yoga, it will target muscle groups otherwise underused in many other more mainstream sports. This will not only enhance core-body stability, but the development of your new-found muscles will help support the ones you already use. For instance, just imagine how much more powerful your cricket swing could become, once you start utilising all those newly cultivated muscles in your back. ‘SIX!’

Yoga will help enhance your balance

Yoga nurtures control, but more importantly, sustained control. It’s not just about contorting your limbs into new and exotic, pretzel-like positions, but holding that position for a long period of time. This not only takes a great amount of strength and focus, but also balance and coordination, and like anything else, practice makes perfect! Considering these attributes are also highly sought in pretty much every other competitive sport, be it football or tennis, by improving your control over the body, you’ll also improve your control over the game.

Yoga will help improve your flexibility

Yoga demands that you twist your body in ways you never previously considered, which invariably requires a great amount of flexibility. Through consistent practice of the various asanas, or poses, your muscles and joints will become more pliant. This will in turn improve your rate of performance in other areas, too; the boxer might suddenly be able to bend in new angles in order to dodge an incoming jab, or the tennis player might start reaching shots previously out of range. In addition, a more flexible muscle is less susceptible to strain related injuries, as it is more acclimatised to extreme usage.

Yoga will help sharpen your mind

At the end of an intense yoga session comes savasana, or the corpse pose; a meditative exercise that involves lying on the back in a relaxed state. This is about returning the mind to a neutral position, by quieting the physical body and pacifying the sensual organs. With five minutes suggested for every 30 minutes of practice, this process helps to sharpen the mind by blocking out negativity, and concentrating on goals. As we mentioned in our previous post, suggesting a daily count to 100, with greater focus comes greater performance, be it sports related or otherwise.

If you have used yoga to positive effect in your own life, or can recommend a certain style or session, we’d love to hear from you in the comment box below. And whilst you're down there, check out our leggings, vest and shorts, from the Be An Athlete ladies sportswear range, perfect for the yoga mat!

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*As with all exercise/fitness/health regimes always consult your physician first


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