Over the years, you’ve been incredibly diligent about eating the right foods, avoiding the “bad” ones, and working out five to six days a week between cardio and weightlifting. You probably think you’ve been doing everything right. You’re a lean, mean fighting machine!
Then, you go bend over to stretch your hamstrings and your hands are six inches away from your toes! Now, this might be ok if you had really short arms, but you know that’s not the case. Maybe, you just have really long legs, again, you know this isn’t true.
Well, the problem isn’t with what you’ve been doing, it’s with what you haven’t been doing. Sure eating right and exercising daily is great for overall health and getting beefy slabs of muscle, but it hasn’t addressed a few key aspects of your fitness life: mobility, flexibility, and range of motion.
Sure this may not seem like a big issue in your 20s or early 30s, but just wait, sooner or later you won’t even be able to raise your arm over your head or sit down without feeling like a ball of knots.
There is a simple answer to all of these problems, and it comes in the form of YOGA!
“Yoga is for girls!”
Here’s another myth that many guys subscribe to when first hearing of yoga. Let’s think about something. Saying “yoga is for girls only” is the same as saying “weightlifting is for guys only.” Tell that last quote to Ronda Rousey and see how quickly a roundhouse meets the side of your head!
Yoga, when done properly, is another strength training tool in your arsenal. Between all of the balance postures, pushups, inversions and lunge variations you’ll be working through, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a total body workout without having to put your body through the stress and strain of continually lifting heavy ass weights!
If that’s not enough to convince you, numerous modern day athletes are incorporating yoga into their in-season and off-season workouts as a way to help the body recovery from the incessant pounding it receives. Basically, if it’s good enough for the likes of Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, it’s good enough for you!
What is Yoga?
You may think yoga is about sitting in quiet room on a mat, chanting endless “ohms” while inhaling incense. That may be what the movies have you believe, but that is the furthest thing from what yoga really is.
Yoga is a series of very precise bodyweight movements and poses designed to strengthen, lengthen, and improve your body in a number of ways. There are virtually unlimited variations on each of the basic postures that progress in difficulty as you become more adapt at the practice. Each pose or movement focuses on a different goal which develop strength and flexibility simultaneously.
The poses are broken down into one of the following categories:
- Forward bend
- Backward bend
- Balance poses
- Twisting poses
- Standing poses
- Seated poses
- Inversion poses
- Core poses
A basic sequence would be a forward bend followed by plank-pushup into a backbend. Movements are always paired with their countermovement to ensure the body is always worked in symmetry.
Why do Yoga?
Ok, so you’ve got the basic gist of what yoga is, but why should you do it?
Unlike weight lifting, where you want the muscles to fail, or cardio, where you go until your heart and lungs basically burnout, yoga is about finding the relaxation in the exercise. It’s a chance to do some pre-hab work on your body and fix some of those areas that are often neglected so you’ll be better prepared for all the other athletic endeavors you want to tackle.
Yoga offers a multitude of benefits including:
- Increases flexibility and range of motion
- Speeds recovery
- Strengthens tendons, ligaments, and stabilizer muscles
- Develops coordination and balance
- Improves posture and alignment
- Reduces likelihood of injury
- Corrects muscular imbalances
- Decreases pain and soreness
- Burns calories (between 200-600 in an hour!)
These are just a few of the benefits that yoga can offer. This doesn’t even touch on all the benefits yoga offers the mind in regards to decreasing stress, lowering cortisol levels, boosting mood, and increasing focus!
What Do I Need?
Here’s the real beauty of yoga, you don’t need any equipment at all! Sure you can go get some loose fitting sweatpants or gym shorts and a yoga mat, but neither of those are absolutely necessary.
You really just need some empty floor space in a quiet room and yourself! If you’re as flexible and limber as The Tin Man, you may want to get foam yoga block to help you with the initial balance and standing poses and some kind of strap or rope to help with the forward bends and hamstring stretches.
Hopefully you’re no longer scared off by the notion of incorporating a weekly or bi-weekly session of yoga into your training schedule. Do it on your off day or when you want to unwind before crashing for the night. It doesn’t have to be a 90-minute marathon either. Something as simple as a 20 or 30 minute session could be just what you need to help wake up or get rid of the day’s stiffness from sitting at a desk all day.
Start making yoga a regular part of your fitness regimen and your mind and body will thank you!
Get Focused with Nitramine!
It can be hard to turn off all the outside distractions from the day when getting ready for a quick hit of yoga. For those days, turn to Nitramine!
Myokem’s Nitramine offers unparalleled focus and concentration and long-lasting smooth energy. Take 1 scoop 30 minutes before your yoga session and be prepared to be feel better and more limber than you ever did before.