Jul 19, 2023
What’s all this talk about Yoga?
Yoga has now become a very popular topic in the world today, but can Yoga really help you become a better athlete?
We have all heard of the amazing benefits of yoga from a flexibility perspective, but I wanted to really dive into yoga and how it can create the change that you are seeking in your life both inside and out.
Yoga and Flexibility
Yoga is known for increasing flexibility in your body. There are specific classes such as deep stretch that focus on allowing your muscle to engage in a series of static stretching. Static stretching allows your muscles to relax. It is the most common form of stretching that is seen in fitness today. Often in our everyday life, we don’t take enough time out to sit and stretch or hold a stretch for 10-30 seconds to help with flexibility. So, attending a yoga class that is focused on stretching allows the muscles to relax and elongate.
Yoga and Strength
The common misperception about yoga is that it is all about stretching….and it is not. Yoga not only can increase flexibility but also increases strength. Okay so here is where I will get into the technical terms…Yoga classes helped provide two types of Muscle Contractions:
Isotonic Contraction: Generates force by changing the length of the muscle.
Isometric Contraction: Generates force but doesn’t change the length of the muscle.
So, what does all this mean?
In everyday fitness and often in sports we are constantly moving and working our muscles in an isotonic contraction. Not all the time but most of the time. In yoga, you get a variation in these contractions…You get an isotonic contraction and an isometric contraction. This allows the muscles to be engaged while in movement and without movement. A prime example of non-movement would be holding a plank. Now when you hold a plank you are not moving your body, however guess what you feel every muscle that is engaged. This is a form of strength training that is done in Yoga classes (holding poses).
Does Running, CrossFit, or any sport help you to become a better Yogi?
No, it is the opposite; engaging in yoga helps you to become a better runner, cross-fitter, swimmer, weightlifter, and better at your sport. How? As stated, before yoga helps not only teach your muscles how to be fully engaged together but also helps elongate your muscles through flexibility. Yoga also helps you learn how to breathe through movements and helps you create a mindset that will help tackle some of the hardest races, hardest competitions, or hardest games you may tackle.
So, should you incorporate yoga into your weekly practice? YES!
By: Felicia. R. Hall @feliciarhall
Felicia is an educator and motivator at heart. Felicia is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Run & Fitness Coach, RYT 200 Yoga Instructor, Educator, and a doctoral candidate. She is a small-town girl who loves running, nature, and helping others become the best version of themselves.