Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it present...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yoga & Sports

When asked as a little girl what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was never “a princess”. This was simply because as per my Dad, I already was one! My answer was always “a monkey trainer” I’m not sure just sounded and looked like a cool job. As I grew through the years my career ambitions changed. A teacher, a masseuse, a nurse, sports medicine, Respirologist, Physiotherapy...etc... As confusing as it was to decide, I knew one thing was clear. I wanted to work with the public, and I wanted to help and/or cure people anyway I could. I ended up working in medicine and to this day I’m satisfied and 100% content with my decision.

My other job, a Yoga teacher has been the most influential, most moving and enlightening job I’ve ever done. I get to help, inspire and work with some of the most stimulating people. As much as I’ve learned from practicing yoga, most of it came directly from teaching and my students.
I feel lucky to have made it this far and made most of my dreams come true. I am one who is always looking for a challenge though. It keeps me interested and keeps me on track. When I’m not goal setting and ultimately achieving them, I get bored and have found myself lacking desire and drive. At times I’ve felt stuck, lost and confused, and isn’t a good look for me, or anyone for that matter
Recently (with the “help” of a friend) I have come back to one of my thoughts of working with sports medicine and therapy. I have always wanted to train a team with yoga. I know the MLB, NFL and the NHL practice yoga, but was questioned when told that the NBA doesn’t. Being an Aries...I couldn’t let this person tell me they didn’t when I KNEW they did. I had to do some research and prove my point. The research wasn’t Google page later and I was RIGHT! When you look up the name Ken Katich with ESPN, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
Yoga and sports are often seen in opposition. On one side you have the quiet calmness of yoga in dissimilarity to the competitiveness of sports. We say we’re going to “practice” yoga, while in sports the emphasis is positioned upon training. What we all need to focus on in the end is the attitude towards growth and attainment of the individual's goal.
Does it matter WHAT you do to get there though? We all know WHY exercise is beneficial, but why is yoga beneficial for sports?

Well if you’re into sports or play sports, you already know about these top 5 things:

• Greater strength
• Flexibility
• Concentration and/or focus
• Quicker recovery time
• And MORE energy

When working out, in general you use up a lot of energy. When practicing yoga you actually build up energy internally which is referred to as Chi. This leaves you with an overall feeling of calmness, yet power. The feeling of being alive!
Doing yoga can help prevent injuries and is a great way to shorten recovery times as the deep stretches help increase oxygen flow and reduce the amount of lactic acid that builds within your muscles.
The regular practice of yoga aids in the increased ability of your lungs which in turn gives you much greater oxygen capacity. Yoga breathing also helps keep the mind and body calm and focused, which is crucial when the pressure starts to build in competitive sport.
A lot of men worry that yoga is not appropriate for them because they are not naturally flexible. However flexibility is not a prerequisite for yoga. We ALL need to preserve an even balance between stretching, relaxing, strengthening, yielding, and between the peace of our inner self and the performance of outer body.
With the right attitude towards yoga and sports training, we can understand how the human body is made of different structures, muscle formations and subtle, yet powerful energies.

When I started my job as a yoga teacher in a gym that was %80 men THAT was my mission. I wanted to open this unfamiliar door and welcome them into the possibility of being MORE than what they could imagine. My classes went from no one to at times to being FULL and having more men than woman. I’m grateful I’ve been able to share my passion and love for yoga with all of my students and ultimately watch them advance and grow over the last year.

Going back to my dream of working with sports teams I would eventually love to practice yoga with either local sports teams or professional teams. Knowing in my head the vast benefits and leading them with love knowing in my heart what works.