Why Athletes In 2018 Are Gravitating To Yoga
I always laughed at the idea of yoga...I thought it was a waste of time and couldn’t see the benefits, because it never felt like a workout.
In college, I loved when we had team yoga for practice because it was like getting to take a break. Because of the intensity of our workouts, I was used to straining my body and exerting myself, mentally and physically. So to say I never really understood yoga, was an understatement.
Recently, a friend of mine who played football for the University of Michigan dragged me to a yoga class. He had started going to yoga since an injury held up his usual workout routine. He asked me to try it again and give it another chance, but challenged me to keep an open mind and be present within the class.
For the first time, I let the movements take me on a new workout journey, and only laughed once when the teacher ended the class by saying “now let's all breathe out and swallow to finish.” The sweat cleansed out everything that had happened that week and I felt like my body had been reset.
It was an amazing class because I was able to push myself mentally and physically, which resulted in very different benefits than my typical daily workouts. I felt amazing, during the class and the rest of the day.
Here are the top three mental benefits of yoga.
1. Reducing Stress
According to Melinda Ratini MD, yoga can be one of the best things to help reduce stress. Regularly practicing yoga can lower heart rate and blood pressure, allowing the mind to relax and recenter. Amidst unavoidable stressful situations, the breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques learned from yoga lead to a clear, calm, and focused mind.
2. Being Present
Along with helping declutter the mind, yoga can also help declutter areas in life. Yoga principles focus on how to detox the mind of all chaotic thoughts and lingering mental to-do lists. Giving the chance to live in the present and focus on true priorities. Establishing what is important, what you believe, and who you are as a person, lead to an organized agenda, a fulfilling life, and a happier you.
3. Improving Mood
It is not a surprise that doing yoga positively alters brain and blood chemicals over time, leading to exterior benefits such as an improved mood, as told by Chris Iliades, MD. It truly does connect the body and mind.
There are so many additional physical benefits to yoga, from increased flexibility, posture, and muscle strength. However, having a space to calm an active athlete mind, which tends to be competitive, makes the difference in understanding what it means to be truly still.
At Mpowher Athlete, we have witnessed numerous athletes who have used yoga as a space to drastically help mentally. Molly, an Mpowher Athlete member mentioned, “yoga was a space where I could truly just be and not feel the need to compete against anyone, even myself.”
Yoga creates a place to relax the mind and find peace in the movements as well as the stillness. Watch it revolutionize your workout mindset. Comment below if you have experienced something similar with yoga.