If you’d asked me a couple of years ago, I’d have said yoga wasn’t my thing. I’d taken classes here and there but instead of feeling enlightened I felt lost, stiff and bored. I was far more at home on the tennis court or lifting weights in the gym.

But I persisted, eventually finding a studio, teacher and style of yoga I enjoyed.

Man in tshirt and shorts doing side angle yoga pose

Yoga is now a core part of my training regime

Like weight training, yoga is about slow, controlled movement. Yoga poses stretch and strengthen the muscles, and lubricate the joints, making it the perfect activity for active for recovery days.

From cricket to basketball to tennis, professional sports players swear by it

And if it’s good enough for the likes of tennis players Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, the All Blacks and basketballer LeBron James …

No. 1 ranked tennis player, Novak Djokovic, says yoga and meditation enhance his flexibility and mobility; improve his ability to coordinate breath and movement; and help him find “find the inner peace” – Mind Body Green

Having rolled out my mat once or twice a week for about eighteen months, I’ve noticed a Man doing child's pose on a green yoga matnumber of positive (and unexpected) benefits for my strength and cardio training:

  • Shorter recovery time
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Better flexibility, agility and range of motion
  • More effective breathing
  • Strong core and healthy spine

Of course, yoga is not just about the body; it’s a workout for the mind and, as a result, I am more focused in my approach to training, and know when it’s time to ramp up the intensity or call it quits.

On your next recovery day, try it for yourself and see what impact it has on your results in the gym.

Whatever your age, size or physical ability, yoga for everybody

If you’ve tried yoga before and felt underwhelmed  (or worse, like you’d wasted an hour of your life), I encourage you to try again. Give yoga a chance!

Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations, see if your gym offers classes as part of your membership or pop into one of Georgina’s classes. Don’t be afraid to try a variety of studios, teachers and styles until you find the one that’s right for you. Trust your instinct but don’t be afraid to ask the teacher questions about their training, qualifications and the other classes they offer. Today’s class may be Power Yoga but tomorrow they may teach Restorative, Yin or Acro Yoga!

Once you find a teacher you connect with, let them know if you have any significant medical conditions, injuries or physical limitations. Yoga is a mind body practise but, like any form of movement, injury is possible. Above and beyond anything the teacher suggests, if you experience sharp or shooting pain, tingling or numbness, back off or come out of the pose completely.

Commit to practising regularly with your teacher or studio but be prepared for your practise to evolved. Even in the short time I have been practising yoga I have found that the pace and style of yoga I am drawn to has changed.

Curious about yoga? Check out Vitalita’s yoga offerings.

– Sam –

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