Although the above two subjects seem to be worlds apart – are they really? Well funnily enough in some ways they can have the same effect on a person and in other ways they can have an entirely opposite effect. I’ll explain myself a little better as I get through this post – I hope!
Having taught yoga to a large number of sports people in my time and having talked to many of them after classes, the same sort of conversation comes up every time. Very often they explain to me that one part of their body has either been injured at some time or at the very least is tighter or less flexible or even weaker than the other side. One of the reasons for this is that their sport may not be using their body “symmetrically” for example anyone who plays racquet sports, such as tennis, squash or even golf is using one side of the body far more intensely or at least differently from the other side. This can cause an imbalance physically in the body which of course can lead to pain and other problems.
Some sports also use up a lot of energy and can deplete the body of its nutrients unless special attention is made to counteract that. Tissue can also be damaged and the body can get “worn out”. You only have to watch most athletes’ faces coming in from a triathlon race or marathon to prove that! They have literally“ given their all” and now in need of major replenishment!
With yoga it is a different story. There are many types of yoga and the type that most people are now familiar with is the physical type which, if done correctly, will replenish and invigorate the body with energy. It has a balancing effect on both body and mind which is vital for anyone who lives on this planet.
In addition, with some types of sports, very often there comes major competition (even in a friendly tennis game!) and focus is often given to the opponent, however with yoga it is the total opposite and there should be no competition and the focus should always be inward and not on anyone else. This inward reflection brings a person into the present moment, the now, the “Presence” where all you need is right there.
With certain sports there can come increased strength and flexibility and some can even allow you to go “into the zone”. I have met many runners who tell me that when this happens they feel like they can run forever. I must admit I have never got to that point with running (usually I have just been wanting it to be over!) but I have with other activities, one of them being yoga.
So how do you get from just wanting it to be over or being totally in the zone? It is simple really – using my example, when I was wanting my run to be over, was I in the present moment? Absolutely not, I was in the future – no power in that. When a runner is in the “zone” he or she is totally present – all the power that is needed is in the present moment, hence the ability to carry on running with ease.
That is where yoga comes in as it can assist anyone to feel what it is like to be totally present in the moment. No worries or fear can exist at that time which is an added bonus. (Worries are usually about the future, and fear is often linked to the past). There are now many books about being in the present moment – the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is one of the most well known.
So in summary in the context of this post, if you are a sports person it may be a good idea to incorporate a regular yoga practice to counteract the wearing down of tissues and the muscle damage that can occur. Additionally, allowing yourself to feel harmony in the body and mind and what it is like to be in the present moment can assist even the most competitive sports person to achieve greater results in whatever they do.
Barefoot Bodeez Classes are designed especially to take care of the three major factors:
- precise anatomical alignment
- breath awareness
- being present in the moment
Another blog post coming soon…