Choosing a sport, each person focuses on their needs. For some, strength training is more important, someone wants to develop endurance. Increasingly, people choose yoga instead of classic sports. Yoga is a sport that is suitable for beginners, professional athletes, and just fans of an active lifestyle.
Is yoga a sport? Can yoga be considered a sport?
Yoga is not a classic sport. Gymnastic exercises develop only the muscles, and yoga is a separate philosophical direction. The foundations of the current were formed in Ancient India hundreds of years ago. Masters of practice strive to reach the highest point of spiritual development-merging with the divine. And physical development is a tool that helps along the way.
Of course, asanas promote health, and this beneficial effect can not be ignored. Performing asanas normalizes weight, tones muscles, improves the functioning of all organ systems, and makes ligaments elastic and strong. A complex of asanas, proper nutrition and timely cleansing of the body relieve a person from most of the diseases that lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Also, regular practice of asanas develops thinking. Therefore, it is wrong to perceive yoga as a separate type of gymnastics. To get the most out of it, physical exercises should be supplemented with meditations, mantras, and cleansing short fasts.
At the same time, performing asanas is compatible with other sports. They relieve tension from the muscles, making training more effective. And relaxation helps restore wasted energy.
Yoga or sports?
In sports, the main criterion for success is the achievement of standards. An athlete trains to reach a certain level. Even if a person does sports for their pleasure, they still notice changes in weight and volume. But yoga doesn’t have these standards. The only thing that the yogi focuses on is his feelings. Sport often forces you to overcome yourself and engage in harmful activities. Yoga is aimed at achieving inner harmony. No one expects a beginner to perform complex asanas perfectly. Each person determines the appropriate pace of training and type of asanas.
To get the effect of asanas, it is enough to practice 15 minutes a day. Gradually, the training time can be increased and more diverse asanas can be added to the complex. Classical yoga includes exercises aimed at strengthening, stretching and relaxing.
Influence of yoga on professional athletes
Performing asanas can help professional athletes achieve high results and avoid health problems. Yoga and sports complement each other by performing different functions.
Development of muscles
The combination of physical and breathing exercises allows you to develop the muscles of the entire body. Especially useful is the practice of asanas for those who are engaged in swimming, running and Cycling. For these disciplines, muscle elasticity, strength, and endurance are important. Just building muscle isn’t enough. You need to be able to maintain a high-tempo workout for a long time and perform monotonous movements. For this, all muscle groups must develop harmoniously. Asanas help you develop them evenly.
In a standard gym workout, some muscles are worked out more and others less. Some muscle groups remain completely inactive. There is no relationship between them and any unsuccessful movement can one day lead to injury. You can lift a lot of weight with the help of developed biceps, but not keep it and get a stretch of the oblique muscles of the back or break the tendons on the legs. Evenly developed muscles allow the body to correctly distribute the load.
An athlete needs to be able to keep his balance. To do this, you need to control every movement, hold the same position for a long time. Performing asanas is best for this purpose. The ability to keep a balance has a beneficial effect on the technique in any sport, helps to hone the purity of movements.
In most people, the leading arm is right, and the muscles on the right side of the body are more developed. Because of this, it can be very difficult to achieve a harmonious pumping of the muscles on the left side. It is yoga that allows you to develop the muscle corset evenly and maintain balance when performing sports exercises.
Asanas aimed at developing flexibility are different from simple stretching exercises. The increase in elasticity in yoga is due to relaxation, not muscle tension. Holding the pose gently stretches the ligaments without exposing them to the risk of injury. Performing an asana, a person does not repeat the movement repeatedly, but tries to maintain the pose and relax. The body gets used to staying still in one position, making stretching long and stable.
High flexibility is necessary in any sport. It helps to increase the range of motion, to use muscle strength sparingly, and to avoid injuries.
Yoga and health
Excessive exercise is harmful to health. Often, in the pursuit of medals, athletes deliberately refuse the necessary periods of rest and recovery, get injured and may even end their careers with a disability. But moderate loads are good for the body and you should not completely give up sports. Yoga can replace classes in the gym-this is confirmed by official medical research.
Even people with a low level of athletic training can perform simple asanas. All asanas can be divided into 3 levels of difficulty:
- For beginners. This is the first stage that can be mastered by children, the elderly and athletes recovering from injuries. Entry-level asanas prepare the body to increase the load, teach you to love and take care of your body. They are recommended for people with excess weight, hypertension, and diabetes.
- This level requires good physical fitness. Asanas of the second level are not recommended to be performed without preparation, they threaten beginners with bruises, dislocations, and sprains.
- For masters. To go to the advanced level, a person needs 2-3 years of training. A yoga master can perform complex asanas himself and has the right to teach them to others.
Practicing athletes, whose muscles and ligaments are sufficiently developed, can immediately move to the second level, and beginners should not neglect proper training.
Weight loss with yoga
One of the main types of motivation to do yoga is weight loss. The practice itself does not set such a goal — it is focused on spiritual development. Therefore, weight loss is rather an additional pleasant bonus. Getting rid of excess weight is gradual and natural. The body receives a uniform load that develops muscles and burns fat deposits. Speeding up metabolism also contributes to faster weight loss.
Many people note that yoga started their interest in a healthy lifestyle. If before they avoided going to the gym and did not pay attention to their menu, now it is important and necessary for them. Often people who practice yoga give up meat and switch to vegetarianism, and then-to raw food. This process does not cause any discomfort. On the contrary, experienced practitioners convince you that your health is only getting better. The body becomes light, fatigue passes, puffiness and swelling disappear. Toxins are removed from the body, and digestive problems are a thing of the past.
Thanks to the combination of static and dynamic asanas, the yogi forms a beautiful muscular relief. Under the condition of regular training, excess weight no longer returns, and the body remains toned and slim even in old age.
Benefits of yoga as a sport
Conditionally, yoga can be considered a sport. But unlike other types of physical activity, it has its advantages that make it accessible and popular.
Benefits of yoga for the body:
- Prolongation of youth. Yogis are famous for their longevity — many practitioners live up to a hundred years, maintaining health and youth. Yoga classes speed up metabolic processes, cells are updated faster, and the skin retains elasticity. Good mood, which appears after each session, also contribute to the prolongation of youth.
- Normalization of the day mode. Evening yoga classes allow you to fall asleep faster and relieve insomnia. The daily routine becomes stable: the need for sleep decreases, but after a short night’s sleep, the person feels completely rested.
- Removal of a nervous tension. Yoga removes the effects of stress and does not allow negative energy to accumulate in the body. Thanks to this, a person can easily cope with psychoemotional loads.
- Normalization of breathing. For people with asthma and other respiratory diseases, yoga helps to normalize the respiratory rhythm. Breathing exercises relieve panic attacks and help you calm down quickly after emotional outbursts.
Yoga teaches you to feel your body and treat it carefully. Sports often lead to the fact that a person completely loses touch with their body and does not notice the warning signals. Therefore, professional athletes often get injured and recover for a long time.
Fabric is probably the most important thing in yoga clothing. A good combination can be called cotton with a small addition of elastic synthetics. It feels like these suits are completely natural, which contributes to maximum relaxation and comfort.
What properties should yoga clothes have in General?
- It is necessary that the body can breathe, because, despite the energy component, yoga is a physical exercise.
- Properly selected fabric does not acquire unpleasant odors after several sessions, for this it must be well worn.
- For energy, natural fabrics are more useful and convenient.
- As strange as it sounds, yoga clothing should be soft, neutral, calm colors, so as not to distract others from diving into the lesson.
At the same time, it should be noted that clothing consisting entirely of natural materials has its drawbacks, which can make it difficult to practice yoga. This:
- After a certain time, the natural fabric is quickly washed.
- It can not be inelastic and narrow, so some yoga practices in such clothes are inconvenient and useless.
- Quickly enough, the knees stretch out, and the clothes lose their appearance and functionality.
As for the style, practical tight leggings and t-shirts are best for yoga. They are quite comfortable to do, they do not create discomfort, you can not be afraid to fall out, for example, from a hammock during fly yoga or try to pull not the leg, as it should be, but the fabric, which for some reason is too much.
Also, body-hugging clothing has a purely utilitarian character. An instructor or trainer will be able to better see the state of a person’s muscles and entire body through tight-fitting clothing, which is not possible if the suit is loose enough.
Have a nice practice!