Monday, April 27, 2009

Yoga for Athletes

Eddie Goege, American Football Running Back

Many athletes are amazed at how difficult yoga is. In other words: yoga kicks your butt! While attending a yoga class, you find your body shaking and sweating in what appear to be even the simplest posture. This is because years of intense training in competitive sports has traumatized your body. Sports are one-dimensional. Their movements stress the same muscle groups, tendons, ligaments and bones in the same linear fashion over and over and over again.

The reason yoga is such an effective tool for improved athletic conditioning, is because it is multi-dimensional. Both mind and body are utilized. Yoga steers the physical body through every possible dimension and range of motion, while the mind remains present, absolute and composed.

With yoga, our thoughts come to a standstill while we listen to what our bodies say. We develop an open and wholehearted awareness to what our bodies tell us, creating a grounded, uniformed and balanced approach to health and fitness.

Yoga and sports carry similarities and differences. Sports decimate and bulldoze your body, yoga exhilarate and bring new life to it. Sports arouse and propel the sympathetic nervous system, yoga animates the parasympathetic nervous system. Sports stiffen, contract and strain the muscles and tissues in your body, yoga unlocks and liberates your body's muscular system, developing expansion, elasticity and openness. Athletic breath is accelerated and external whereas, breath work in yoga is unhurried, bottomless and relaxed. The mentality of an athlete is overexcited and unsound, but the mentality of a yogi is quiet, tranquil, and at peace. Ultimately, sports deteriorate, while yoga invigorates.

Some tips for athletes before beginning yoga. First, expect results to come slowly. Progress in yoga takes time with many ups and downs. Second, seek the advice and training of a yoga teacher you trust and feel connected to. Lastly, relax, smile and enjoy the ride....
Ref. "Impact Magazine".05/09.

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