We all know yoga is beneficial for us but it's neglected by many. Whether you are a weightlifter, runner or swimmer - adding a practice like yoga to your fitness regime can have a positive effect on your general health and fitness, performance and is the perfect compliment to your workout routine.
Yoga is a great practice for the mind and body with a large focus of yoga being breath work. Learning to control your breath and relax your body can help to reduce the impact of every day stress as well as the stresses of working out regularly.
If you breathe too fast or shallow your body won't be very efficient and you're not going to be oxygenating your body fully. The knock on effect of this is that you will fatigue much quicker, not ideal in any form of exercise.
During a yoga practice the breath guides you through the poses, thus getting your body used to moving and breathing in unison. Being able to control your breath and regulate your breathing under stress can also help to improve mental clarity and focus. If you can be of calm mind you will make better decisions on the sport field and be able to perform at a high level for longer.
When we workout, running, lifting weights or playing sport, we can put a lot of strain and tension on the body. Yoga is a great way of releasing some of that tension and helping your muscles to recover and repair.
Recovery after any training session is important and yoga has been shown to decrease inflammation on a cellular level, helping athletes of all kinds recover quicker.
For most forms of exercise we need flexibility in our body so we can move with ease. If our muscles are tight we are more likely to pick up injuries and that could be a big set back to our training goals.
Flexibility is essential in keeping our muscles strong and healthy so a regular yoga session is a great compliment to your training regime and one focus of yoga is to strengthen and lengthen muscle tissues.
Many of the injuries people get come from imbalances in your body. Holding postures on each side of the body, for the same length of time and moving through good ranges of motion can help to reduce the imbalances and keep you injury free.
Certain yoga poses are great to help strengthen the body and improve balance. Poses such as the plank and side plank will help improve your core and arm strength. The tree pose is great to strengthen the feet and improve your balance standing on one leg at a time.
The knock on effect of becoming stronger in these areas will be improved performance in other forms of exercise. A stronger core means you would be able to move heavier weights. Better balance can improve your running technique as you balance from one foot to the other when you run.
The mind body connection that you get in yoga can help you improve your body's overall performance. When you become more aware of your body, muscles, posture and form you will be able to correct your movements better and put your body into stronger positions.
Being able to contract muscles on their own can significantly improve the strength of those muscles and mean you can activate them more effectively during exercise. Meaning you may be lightning weights in a much safer way and your weights are likely to increase. Or you will be able to run with greater power and speed.
So what every form of exercise you currently do, you can see how yoga can be the perfect compliment and help you create a more rounded and balanced body and mind.
Founder of TONIQ
Have you ever tried yoga? What's your favourite pose? Comment below. Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.