I’ve always recommended yoga alongside strength training and long walks. The reason I like it is that we live in a fast pace world. It often takes traveling to other countries to realize how our culture is so driven by work, work and more work. Stress creates mental tunnel vision, it pre-ages you, makes you fat and leads to all sorts of diseases.
So here’s why I recommend you give yoga a try.
We live in a competitive world. When people see an exercise program being marketed as “intense” they tend to think that must be the solution. They get lured into trying p90x and when they get tired of that, they start insanity cardio or join Crossfit for more adrenaline. But the problem is that in the pursuit of getting healthy the adrenaline itself is often the problem. Adrenaline is a drug. It’s the same reason these same people are addicted to caffeine, have trouble sleeping and have low testosterone. A better solution is to balance that natural intensity with the opposite. Calming exercises. Most adrenaline junkies hate this but often what you hate is what you need.
Calming the mind
We live in a distracted world. If you’ve read this far you’re an exception. Most people don’t read anymore, it’s not stimulating enough. We have notifications everywhere. We constantly need a dopamine dump – the same way the casino slot machine makes the lights and sounds go off when you win. We don’t take it seriously but we’re addicted. We can’t spend more than a few minutes away from our phone. Our minds are always busy. We never take time alone for ourselves. For our body and mind. Yoga as well as meditation allows you to relax the mind, to concentrate on your breathing. It’s like a muscle, as you start to think of other stuff, you flex it and bring your focus back to breathing. Over time that gets stronger. The feeling you get when you start to see the benefits is as if your brain felt full before and yoga released the pressure to think clearly again. Relaxing the mind gives you insight into yourself and the power for expansive change in your life.
Most people have terrible mobility. Sometimes it’s evident in their posture and sometimes it isn’t until you have them do an overhead squat that it becomes very evident. Stress makes you tight all over. Lack of exercise or too much repetitive exercise makes you tight too. We sit in chairs all day. Most people are stiff as boards. Mobility should be part of every program no matter what level of fitness or training you’re into you. Yoga helps you stretch muscles you’re not used to stretching. A knowledgable yoga instructor is important because it’s easy to hurt yourself. Don’t approach it with ego – it’s not a competition. Just take it step by step.
Also published on Medium.