I have a confession, I used to think yoga was for pansies. I have always considered myself an athlete: softball in high school, cheerleading in college, running, powerlifting, and even competing nationally in physique. My first experiences in yoga were badly disguised in the form of DVDs and group exercise in non-yoga focused facilities. They were just as disappointing as biting into an oatmeal raisin cookie that you thought was chocolate chip: IT TASTED AWFUL. However, my first class in a genuine studio was life changing. In the middle of class, the teacher gave us a water break. I tried to keep my composure as I flopped down on my mat, trying not to gasp for air like Nemo in the dentist’s bowl. I shakily sipped my water, and as I watched in amazement while the sweat beaded up and rolled off of my shins, it hit me. There were unmistakeable similarities that yoga has with being an athlete, and maybe you can make the connection too.
1) You like being physically and mentally challenged.
Yoga requires a ton of muscular strength to safely encourage flexibility to protect joints and ligaments. It also requires intense focus and patience to execute postures safely with correct technique. Not too unlike using proper technique to hit a ball or swing a racket to safely protect the shoulder during sports. Can you say home run?
2) You enjoy a purposeful fitness practice.
One of the things I miss most about participating in sports was the physical act of working towards a goal, such as giving your all to score against a rival team. Yoga is full of intention and purpose to execute poses that require technical savvy, but it’s all devoted to making you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Score!
3) You want to feel your body’s potential.
Yoga develops a body awareness unlike any other fitness form. The audible breath used in yoga helps to bring a consciousness to relax tight muscles or bring your body to it’s edge in a peak pose. The measurement of success in both is directly related to an even and controlled breathing pattern in a yoga class. If you’ve ever made a high pressure score, or ran a long distance race, you can definitely relate to the importance of breath. (Try not to gasp when the realization hits you).
In short, yoga is not for pansies, but for people who want more from themselves in any aspect. If you connected with any of these points, or if you’re a super strong yogi who practices yoga daily, or you’re an active person who want to dabble in yoga to make yourself better, then you are a yogathlete!
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