There is a reason why even in 2016, over 80% or all yoga practitioners are women.
There is an all too common misconception that yoga is too “soft” and “feminine” and not for tough guys looking for an adrenaline rush of “proper hard” fitness regimes. Men shy away from it because they feel that it is not manly enough. Sure, yoga is definitely not about sweating buckets, spiking adrenaline levels and screaming muscles, and for good reason too.
People who indulge in in high intensity physical activities know the toll it takes on their bodies. If you pump iron too strenuously, you get muscle injuries. Overextend yourself playing a contact sport, you get dislocations, strains or worse. Professional sports have to deal with the toll on the human body from constant physical activity. And they are increasingly turning to yoga for healing and conditioning.
Guess what NBA stars like Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James have in common with the New Zealand All Blacks, or the NFL teams like the Seattle Seahawks or the New York Giants, or the NHL goalie Sean Burke, or tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray? They are part of a new generation of elite athletes who all swear by yoga.
Here are 5 reasons why top athletes are embracing yoga in a big way:
1. Greater Flexibility = Elastic Muscles + Supple Joints
And that directly translates into less chance of injury and increased efficiency and power. Professional athletes constantly face the issue of tightened muscles. Yoga helps relax muscles and help them recover faster from overexertion, resulting in less downtime and much lower chance of injury in the long run.
2. Mind over matter
The x-factor that sets apart the truly great athletes and sports persons from the rest is not just better physicality, but a stronger mind as well. SUP Yoga through meditation and focused asanas and breath control improves mind function and promotes mental fortitude.
3. Increased body awareness
Each time you do a posture or asana in yoga, you are acutely aware of the changes it inflicts on your body. This helps increase our awareness regarding the limits and capabilities of our body better, and gives us more control over body motion. This is invaluable for professional athletes.
4. A great form of light workout
Every pro athlete knows the importance of light workouts to aid in recovery of tired muscles and tissue. You can’t just indulge in high intensity physical activity and hope that the body recovers on its own through rest alone. Yoga is a perfect light intensity activity that promotes active recovery in the body, since it involves a lot of stretching and relaxing of muscles.
5. Better oxygen intake
Efficient oxygen intake is essential for effective energy release and smooth muscle functioning. Yoga improves our control over breathing and teaches focused breathing techniques that can aid the body in times that require high intensity activity.
You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.~ Sharon Gannon