We covered the basics of why yoga is important for endurance athletes, but I wanted to dive just a bit deeper about what yoga is. At it’s simplest form, yoga is a series of poses or postures. These are held for one to five breaths depending on the style of yoga.
As mentioned in the previous post, yoga has been around for 1000's of years. It’s origins are not precise and there have been more styles than can be mentioned here from all different countries. The word yoga translates to mean “to yoke” or “union”. It is a union of postures, done by a union of humans in a moving meditation. Most yoga classes here in the west do not go that deep into that meaning and just do Yoga as fitness, which is still great, there are a ton of benefits to the physical practice.
A series of poses are strung together, either from a set sequence from a Master, guru or just a simple teacher like yours truly. The sequence should include a few moments of quiet contemplation before beginning, a warm up sequence, a peak pose or sequence where the body is most ready for work and a stretch/cool down. Does this sound like a lot of fitness classes?
At it’s core, yoga is a moving meditation. The poses or postures are meant as a catalyst to calm the chatter of the mind or “monkey brain”. The focus of the mind on the body during the practice keeps the monkey brain quiet. You may even learn a few things about yourself when you are in a challenging pose-how can this relate to the real world? Think of those moments of a race when your mind says I am done, but you know you’ve got more—yoga can teach this lesson in a different way. Standing on one leg with the other lifted in the air and letting go of the “I can’t” and replacing it with “I can” might be a huge "aha" moment.
Feel free to reach out for more about yoga. More to come soon…
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