Sorry about the ‘blog drought’ during the recent weeks. Sometimes the topics and words just don’t come! I’m working on new ways to research the sorts of topics that are relevant to both existing and potential members, but don’t ever hesitate to ask for topics to be covered. Simply log your requests in the comments section of the most recent posts. Today, a bit about yoga.
What do you think of at the mention of yoga? It’s probably yoga pants, stretch mats, primarily women holding really awkward stretches for stupid durations, and ‘core’ exercises. Sure, those are aspects of yoga, but merely the superficial. (Aside from it being primarily women, that tide is changing!) It’s a lot like CrossFit. What you see are barbells, bumpers and funky looking pull-ups, but we’re developing so much more than just a 1-rep max back squat. The benefits of the program delve much deeper, and the movements are but a tool to get you there.
Yoga is an ancient science with an array of types and practices. The ultimate goal of the practice is development of both mind and body. You learn specific poses that both strengthen and lengthen muscles, and flows that move you quickly between poses to get your heart and lungs working. You are also taught how to better align the body. Those new to yoga probably focus more on the mechanics of the pose – external alignment – and as you progress you focus more on internal ‘settings’ that refine your positions.
Learning breathing techniques, not too different from the methods I previously wrote about, is arguably one of the most beneficial aspects of yoga. Apart from being necessary for physical performance, knowing how to control your breathing is important for maintaining focus and calm of mind. You also learn fundamentals of visualisation, which is again important for physical and mental performance. The breathing and visualisation practices teach you how to stay on track, in all tracks of life!
Something new to me as a movement coach was learning to move without visual cues. You have to trust the verbal cues of the instructor and develop your ability to move correctly based on those cues, without seeing them move. It’s a great way of developing your spatial awareness.
Now in order to attain the proposed gains in mental and physical abilities, you have to be challenged. And yoga certainly will challenge you! But just as we advocate in CrossFit, it’s all relative. You need not have a prerequisite level of flexibility or strength to start because the movements and positions are all modifiable relative to your abilities. We’ve also endeavoured to pull from the most effective training practices out there with a view to developing that broad and inclusive fitness, so I’m not sure why we haven’t got yoga going sooner, but it’s up now and along with adding more classes to the schedule at HQ, we’ll get classes scheduled at East shortly too!
Have you got suggestions for other yoga class times? Drop them into the comments section below.