Athletics and Yoga – 5 Medal-Worthy Tips for Achieving Namaste
What does hockey player Wayne Gretzky have in common with yoga? If someone had asked me this before I attended a yoga class, I’d have said nothing at all. Wayne Gretzky once said, “Some people skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck is going to be.” The success of his proactive way of thinking is evident when you look at his many achievements in the sport, such as the Hart Memorial Trophy, Calder Memorial Trophy, and Art Ross Trophy. It was this kind of proactive way of thinking that helped me face my qualms about trying yoga.
Yoga as a Transition
It’s a bit ironic that I chose a job that requires sitting in one place for several hours at a time, because I’ve always been partial to outdoor activities. One of my favorites is hiking in the wilderness local to my home in Halifax, which includes the rugged terrain of Canada’s eastern coast. But there was little transition between my sedentary job and vigorous pastimes. Finally I complained to a fellow hiker who told me he had the same issue but found a solution to his problem through yoga. I’ll be honest; at first I hadn’t heard of many men who participated in yoga classes. However, yoga boot camps for men are becoming a popular trend – especially among athletes.
Men who do yoga are faster and stronger at sports like running, swimming, golf, tennis, kayaking, and more compared to men who don’t do any kind of meditative stretching. By the time our hike was done, he had me convinced that nobody would expect me to lift my ankle behind my head while chanting a mantra of “Oooohmmmm” in an incense-scented, shadow-filled room. In fact, the class he suggested took place in an isolated park on Saturday mornings. After a lot of contemplation, and some discussion with my wife, I signed up. If you’ve never attended a class, here are some things that both males and females will want to consider before breaking out the yoga mat.
- Yoga Pants or Tights? Actually, neither; any loose, comfortable clothing will work so long as you can perform the various poses without the clothes hindering your movements. Most of the guys in my class, including me, wear sweatpants or shorts and a t-shirt or tank top, depending on the weather.
- Will I lose weight? Yes, but not right away. Yoga promotes flexibility, spine strengthening, better cardio and digestive, and overall relieves stress from your body and mind. When your body and mind are stress-free, you’re more likely to take part in other activities that help you work up a sweat. While advanced yoga classes for non-beginners can help with weight loss, overall it’s more accurate to say that yoga promotes a healthy lifestyle that leads to weight loss.
- Do I have to do it every day? The benefits of yoga are based on how often you practice it. If you only practice 30 minutes once per week, then your benefits will reflect that. If you practice 30 minutes three times a week, you will feel triple the benefits in your level of flexibility and muscle strength.
- What if I look silly? Everyone is doing the same pose, and because no two people share the same body type, it’s unlikely that everyone is doing it the exact same way. You can try yoga if you’re overweight, underweight, short, tall, injured, or even if you are in your golden years and suffering from arthritis.
- What if my body isn’t flexible? Then you are perfect for a beginning yoga class! Wayne Gretzky didn’t step on the ice for the first time knowing how to skate or shoot a puck right into a net, and nobody expects you to start out practicing yoga at an expert level. The more you practice yoga, the more flexible you will become. If back pain is keeping you from doing poses correctly, you might look into using inversion tables for back pain or another form of chiropractic treatment.
Great Instructors Lead Great Classes
Aside from the cost of the class, buying supplies for practicing yoga were relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of exercise I’d tried in the past. I purchased a new yoga mat (for sanitary reasons), but wore loose clothing I already own and an existing metal water bottle that I use for hiking. A great instructor was the best benefit of the class. His laid back approach took the intimidation out of trying something new, and he encouraged class members to take breaks, keep hydrated, and to do as much as we were comfortable with according to our individual needs.
About the Author
Successful writer and online marketer Rick Mercado is only in his early 30s, but long hours of working in his home office or sitting with his laptop at his local coffee shop have left their mark on his lower back. He found some relief by using a home spinal decompression machine to help relieve the pain. When he’s not working in the Halifax home that he shares with his wife, Rick prefers the great outdoors and often participates in activities like kayaking and hiking.