Yoga has now become a very popular topic in the world today but can Yoga really help you become a better athlete?
We have all heard of the amazing benefits of yoga from a flexibility perspective but I wanted to really dive into yoga and how it can create the change that you are seeking in your life both inside and out.
Yoga and Flexibility
No doubt about it that yoga is known for increasing flexibility in your body. There are specific classes such as deep stretch that focuses on allowing your muscle to engage in a series of static stretching. Static stretching allows the neurotransmitters to send a message to the muscle to relax. It is the most common form of stretching that is seen in fitness today. Often times in our everyday life we don’t take enough time out to sit and stretch or hold a stretch for 10-30 seconds to help with flexibility. So attending a yoga class that is focused on stretching allows the muscles to relax and elongate.
Yoga and Strength
The common misperception about yoga is that it is all about stretching….and it is not. Yoga not only can increase flexibility but also increases strength. Okay so here is where I will get into the technical terms…Yoga classes helped provide two types of Muscle Contractions
Isotonic Contraction– generates a force by changing the length of the muscle.
Isometric Contraction– generates a force but doesn’t change length in the muscle
So what does all of this mean?
In everyday fitness and often times in the sports we are constantly moving and working our muscles in a isotonic contraction. Not all the time but the majority of the time. In yoga you get a variation in these contractions…You get isotonic contraction and isometric contraction. This allows the muscles to be engaged while in movement and also without movement. Prime example of non movement (isometric contraction) if I was to hold a Warrior 2 pose it may seem as if no muscles are working because I am not changing the length of my body. But try this on..Stand in Warrior 2 for about 3-5 minutes and you will soon realize that your quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, abdominals muscles, upper body muscles are all fully engaged and all working together to keep you in this pose. So it allows all of your muscles to be fully engaged and working together; which can help teach your body/muscles when doing activities to be fully engaged together.
Does Running, Crossfit or any sport help you to become a better Yogi?
No it is actually the opposite; engaging in yoga actually helps you to become a better runner, crossfitter and better at your sport. How? As stated before yoga helps not only teach your muscles how to be fully engaged together but also helps elongate your muscles through flexibility and allows you to utilize 100% of the muscle instead of 50% of the muscles due to muscle tightness. Yoga also helps you learn how to breathe through movements and helps you create a mindset that will help tackle some of the hardest races, or hardest competition or hardest game you may tackle….Stay Tuned for another post about Yoga and Mindset coming soon.
So should you incorporate yoga into your weekly practice…Heck YEAH!!!!