Yoga: The Secret to A Healthier Mind and Body

While we love yoga for its meditative benefits, there’s no denying that it can also be a very good workout for keeping both mind and body healthy and in balance. The Sanskrit term ‘asana’ literally translates to ‘seat’, but it is collectively understood as the postures, or the physical movements that are performed in a typical yoga class. Asana is a major component of the practice and one that most people fall in love with in the first place, which hopefully sparks in them a deeper interest in yoga.

Cycling and Yoga

If you ask around why yogis embark on this journey, you will most likely hear about becoming healthier and stronger. And those reasons are completely valid. There are a growing number of studies that highlight the benefits of yoga in terms of improving overall physical fitness. In fact, former Olympic cyclist Evelyn Stevens, who once held the title the ‘Fastest Woman on a Bicycle’, credits yoga as one of the best cross training exercises that helped her athletic career. Yoga can aid in many aspects of one’s fitness: the poses are designed to help with strength and flexibility and performing them in flow builds cardiovascular endurance. 

If you do ten Surya Namaskars in a row you will definitely start sweating and feel your heart rate increase. If you’re new to yoga, you can opt for a gentler flow through your sun salutations and focus on understanding each pose, such as Downward-Facing Dog and learn how to hold it longer. There’s also a common misconception that you have to be flexible in order to practice yoga, but yoga is actually the practice that will build your flexibility. For example, the pose Baddha Konasana that Love My Mat broke down is a great hip-opener. You don’t have to immediately be able to open your legs wide like a book but work towards building that goal over time instead.

Running & Yoga

There are others who first stepped into a yoga class in order to recover from injury. Yoga is very therapeutic and helps with physical rehabilitation. Just look at Britain’s beloved middle-distance runner Kelly Holmes who made history in 2004 with her double Olympic win. She may be retired but that doesn’t mean she stopped running. She has transitioned to tackling marathons and discussed with Runner’s World how she practices yoga during her injury recovery phase. Running can be detrimental to the body, especially the knees, hips, and back but the physical aspect of yoga can help alleviate pressure off those areas. 

Meditation & Yoga
Yoga is beneficial not only to athletes but for everyone who generally wants to stay injury-free in the long-term. One of the things you might notice after some time is that you’re more attuned to your body’s needs. If you feel an imbalance, for instance, you’ll be more equipped to address it. You might also notice how you have better posture even after sitting for hours on end in an office; a setting that many of us are familiar with. It all goes back to the awareness that the meditative aspect of yoga makes more accessible to us. This is also what Chandra Crawford revealed is the secret to her success as a cross-country skier. When you’re aware of where your body is in space, you can perform poses, not just in yoga but in other sports and even everyday tasks, more efficiently and in proper form. When you do so, you’ll have fewer chances of getting hurt. Yoga has the ability to sharpen your presence of mind and allow you to notice minute, but vital aspects to maintaining a healthy mind and body.

Written by Aliah Beatrice
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1 comment

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