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Athletes, Cripples and Everyone in Between Benefits from Yoga Practices

  

by Paul Fassa
See all TBYIL articles by Paul Fassa

(The Best Years in Life) There are arguments against athletes' practicing yoga. The notion of developing flexibility seems contrary to developing the hard, strong muscles that some sports demand. But Rich Roll wishes he would have started earlier in his athletic career.

While well into his 40s, Rich has finished high in two ultra-man Hawaiian triathlons. The three phases of a triathlon are a long distance ocean swimming, bicycling, and marathon running. All phases are performed sequentially within the same time frame.

According to Rich, "every athlete - irrespective of sport or discipline - has the potential to enhance his or her ability by adopting a consistent yoga practice."

Five Ways an Athlete may Benefit from Practicing Yoga

Core strength. For the most part, core strength involves the transversus abdominus, the muscular belt that wraps around the torso under visible muscles. This is not just abs. It's deeper, and it includes back strength as well.

Usually, core strength is ignored. Certain muscle groups get attention according to athletic demands. But core strength is vital for connecting the upper and lower body's overall strength and energy.

Body awareness. Increased body awareness comes with correctly practicing yoga. This helpful for enhancing performance while being able to read the body's stress signals during competition. This leads to not overextending yourself and avoiding injury.

Balance. Several yoga poses (asanas) focus on balance. Good balance is central to good coordination. Many good running backs in football are noticeably well balanced, spinning and weaving while avoiding being tackled, for instance.

Enhanced performance and agility can be achieved from practicing yoga for other positions in football and other sports with an improved sense of balance.

Flexibility. Strong, flexible joints have obvious performance benefits in any sport. Yoga helps increase joint flexibility and strength, which tend to decline with age. Except for swimming, most other sports are hard on knees, ankles, wrists, and shoulders.

Many athletes are forced into early retirement or at least sidelined from time to time with joint sprains and injuries to those joints with their associated tendons and muscles. Yoga can help minimize that and hasten returns to action.

Relaxed mind and body. Unlike so many who undertake yoga lessons, Rich Roll considers the most ignored or taken most lightly asana (pose) as the most important. It's the last and most meditative, which occurs at the completion of moving into different postures. It's called savasana or corpse pose.

It's as though the whole series of asanas or poses prior to this are meant to prepare you for asana. He cites this pose as most helpful for eventually gaining control of the mind, which he considers what separates the winners from the losers.

The corpse pose or savasana also allows you to eventually relax every muscle in the body completely. It's not just a superficial rest. You can learn to feel every fiber and muscle of your body to release all tension. Yoga practice and a decent healthy diet can eliminate high blood pressure without pharmaceuticals.

Learning to eliminate tension is helpful in so many ways, in addition to feeling really good. Tension blocks what Traditional Chinese Medicine or Chi-Gong and Tai-Chi call chi energy or Qi. Blocked chi leads to disease and organ failure.

Acupuncture unblocks chi to permit it to flow again and restore health. More details on how to do a proper savasana or totally relaxed corpse pose here.

  

What About Cripples and Others Mentioned in the Title?

Okay, you got me. I was getting carried away with the jock material. What if you're trying to recover from a physically debilitating situation or you're just trying to get into better shape but strenuous activity is not feasible.

Here's an inspirational video about an ex-paratrooper whose back and knees were seriously injured, handicapping him and forcing him into medications, obesity, bad health, and depression.

He was given up on by mainstream medicine and its normal rehabilitation therapies. But under the guidance of a yoga fitness coach, he lost well over 100 pounds in less than a year and completely recovered full mobility without assistance.

At first he struggled with basic yoga poses, but with persistent effort mastered them. The final result was awesome, all with yoga. Watch here.

See also:

Lower Your Blood Pressure and Your Risk for Major Health Conditions with Yoga

Sources for this article include:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triathlon
http://ultramanlive.com/
http://www.mindbodygreen.com

 

About the author:

Paul Fassa started looking into natural health to overcome his unhealthy lifestyle. Then he developed more interest as he researched his articles for Natural News and Align Life.

He is amazed at the ignorance of natural medicine and how beneficial foods and herbs are constantly ignored or vilified in order to promote toxic foods and meds by Big Pharma, the FDA, USDA, and the AMA, what he likes to call the "Medical Mafia".

His blog is
http://healthmaven.blogspot.com/ - "Healthmaven: Escape from the Medical Mafia Matrix." His Natural News articles can be reviewed here: http://www.naturalnews.com/Author712.html

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