Yoga for Optimal Performance

Yoga for Optimal Performance

For quite some time, yoga has become one of the major popular fitness modalities. Right from countries like USA, UK, Australia to West Indies, the popularity has hyped up. From a simple physical practice, it has become a billion-dollar industry with various kinds of offshoots like Bikram Yoga, Boxing Yoga, PiYo, etc. However, you can easily adopt some simple and dynamic kind of yoga moves. This will enhance the performance and make you live a smarter and healthier.

Modern Yoga

The thing about modern yoga is that it emphasizes on flexibility, balance, strength, mobility, coordination and breath control. These are all the skills you would need for optimal performance. This will indeed make it an ideal accessory for any kind of sports specific training program. Recently, a study was published, and it was found out that after ten to eleven weeks a group of college sports persons attending biweekly yoga classes were able to improve their flexibility and balance.

Also, they were able to gain an average of two inches on their reach and sit test over certain control group. Furthermore, the regular yoga practice helped and really translate to develop their agility and reactivity on the field as per the various medical and health experts.

Try to ameliorate your own skills and drills with various dynamic yoga pose. You can either use them as pre-workout warm-up or simple post workout cool-down for improving squat mechanics, increasing the shoulder flexibility and even promoting the lumbar spine health, which are some of the major health benefits.

So, What Is Yoga?

Irrespective of whether you are a yoga rookie, an experienced yogi, or any member of the Broga society, yoga can deeply benefit by improving strength, flexibility and even support your athletic performance. Now the typical yoga stereotype of a small and flexible female is no longer true. In today’s era we see various athletes and movie stars incorporating yoga in their day to day activities and rigorous training regimes for improving the athletic performance.

In addition, yoga is a non-competitive and one of the best mindful activities. It be done by any person irrespective of age, gender or any kind of bendiness. In addition, it will loosen the tight spots present and will get you working out. This is something that can hinder the physical performance.

Benefits of Yoga

The best part of yoga is that it integrates a good amount of balance among flexibility, strength, and mobility. Even various research indicates that by participating in yoga, one can improve the flexibility of the body, increase the amount of muscular strength and do a whole amount of coordination and even endurance.

Here the strong emphasis lies in breathing practices. This can result in therapeutic effect, which can reduce the psychological and physical stress. So, it will help in plaguing the best of us. Another major benefit of yoga is that it helps in decreasing the stress hormone Cortisol. This helps in reducing depression and stress. Here the increase in the physiological gains with the continuous participation in yoga helps the body in recovering from intense training and even help in preventing injury.

In addition, yoga has been the focus of various scientific studies. This is basically due to the efficacy it has as a functioning moving activity. Among the various studies, some even bought out the benefits that yoga has on and how it can influence one’s functional fitness and help in perceiving stress. This was done on certain selected firemen who are from the metropolitan fire department.

As per this study, these firemen reported good amount of improvements in their functional fitness, perceived stress, trunk flexibility and lowering the musculoskeletal pain. From such finding, one can see how yoga is indeed a positive influence on our physical and psychological well-being.

Benefits Yoga Provides for Vitality

Improving Digestion

Unlike most exercises, yoga can fire up one’s digestion. Doing sports like swimming and running will help in keeping the torso in a single line. However, yoga is different. It helps in moving the abdomen in all kinds of way.

Doing posture like seated forward bend and childlike pose, can easily help in compressing the abdomen. So, when it gets released, fresh blood will rush in and start to rejuvenate the organs.

Doing poses like half lord of the fishes and revolved triangle will twist the abdominal region providing a similar and good effect. Furthermore, poses like the backbends similar to Camel and Bridge will easily help in stretching and toning the organs. The poses like snake and bow put a gentle pressure on the belly that massages the organs.

All this twisting, compressing, and stretching improves the body’s power of digestion. Given that digestion is the cornerstone of health, the entire physical being benefits. Frankly, the benefits yoga has is one way or another helps us every day.

Building Self-Confidence

Many people feel yoga to be difficult. This is most common at the beginning. Doing it requires certain amount of strength, balance and flexibility, which people aren’t used to. However, with good amount of practice the body will start to open. A strong sense of self-confidence gets build up due to the unfolding of our physical ability.

Nothing can quite compare to the first time we balance on our hands for example in the Crow. In the past it was considered impossible, but now it has become easy. Because of yoga you gain a whole lot of respect for your body as well as the physical ability. Through yoga, you can be inspired to improve and become strong, get good amount of balance and flexibility. This will help in improving the self-confidence. In short, yoga benefits the mind as well as body.

Making Toes Strong

Yoga is different from other kind of exercises. It changes the body in ways, we never expect. Most importantly it makes the toes strong. Frankly, it isn’t that necessary about the overall health.

However, it’s one of the best examples of the huge extent to which yoga benefits our physical form. Through regular practice, we can view such changes in other places too, especially in developing lean and long muscles. These will hug our bones in a toned glutes, in strong fingers, in open hips, in better posture, in core definition, and in a spine that seems to get longer and longer.

Improves Focus

There are certain yoga poses that are made to impress like eight angle, firefly, peacock, and side crow, etc. Frankly, they provide more focus compared to what muscles provide. No doubt, there is certain amount of strength and certain decent amount of flexibility which is needed. However, keep in mind that these poses are mostly related to developing concentration.

There is no doubt that all yoga poses can help to improve concentration. Asana is one of the early steps leading to the spiritual path of yoga as it is a way to train one’s mind. In addition, being in any yoga pose for a short amount of time requires huge amount of focus. This focus is exactly what we required in the latter steps of the yogic path. Frankly, all of this have to do with meditation.

Asana practice is a way to train the mind. The focus that it brings isn’t limited to time spent on the mat but permeates into all our thought patterns whether in the yoga studio, in a conversation, or in the office.

Providing A Sense of Purpose

Now if you are sticking with yoga for a long time, you will surely realize that yoga is not simply about one’s body, but it is about life too. The philosophy of yogic provides the required guidance on how to live and be more mindful, focused, and a great amount of compassionate. Truly yoga is a great gift. It teaches one that one must be thankful to be born as a human.

It provides a great amount of chance for developing the path of spirituality. As per yoga the life is not random or futile. It is something which is filled with huge amount of opportunity for growth. In addition, it gives the method for walking or living in this path. Also, it provides a great sense of purpose that many individuals otherwise won’t have thought about.

The lack of purpose is the major cause of unhappiness. Through yoga there is the chance that we learn about having a dharma which is nothing but having a place in the universe and in the cosmic order. This is something that diminishes all the sense of futility, uselessness and being aimless in life.

It is rightly said that the initial motivation that one must come to yoga is to become flexible, go through pain management and get relief from stress. But there is much more you can get from yoga. It has the major ability to heal all the aspects related to our being, right from the functioning to the strength of the physical body. This will assist in being focused and determination of our mind.

Somewhat you can say that it brings peace and full amount of purpose one feels within the soul. Most importantly, it can carry us all around in our life as a major tool for our betterment in all kinds of imaginable.

Benefits Yoga Has for Athletes

Creating A Deep & Relaxed Breathing

Some individuals are active participants of the sports. Or they can be one who join the occasional fun run based on the whim. Here you really need to be aware of the impact breathing has on one’s performance. Deep and relaxed breathing is the major foundation of lowering the chances of getting performance anxiety and improving the concentration.

Here you need to keep in mind that yoga will assist in the habit of breathing in the correct manner. The practice of yoga integrates the mind-body connection and even athletes can easily benefit from such combination of skills and training.

Increasing Core Strength

Yoga pose is simply about creating core strength. Here the focused and slow movement will need a robust midsection. It will even need the isometric contractions of various exercises. And most importantly this will create a new form of resistance which can train the typical machine related workouts.

Increasing Flexibility and Range Of Motion

The best part of the yoga routine is that it can be incorporated in a slow, flexible exercise. This will be simply ideal for athletes. Now the frequent yoga training will simply increase one’s flexibility and provide a wide range of motion which simply helps in improving one’s performance.

Improving Balance

No doubt, yoga is the best way for one incorporate the balancing exercises into training routine. Here the balance exercise is often and sometimes overlooked by athletes. This is one of the major ways to correct the imbalance of the muscles or the problems related to the body’s mechanics. Nowadays, most weight training and sports routines help in providing repetitive motions which can be developed into certain kind of muscle group and there are others which are ignored. With yoga you can fix this.

Best Cross Training

Yoga is one of the best and low-impact methods to cross train. Here cross training is important for athletes who do the same sport or exercise routine year-round. By adding new exercises, it can help lower injury, relieve the training boredom, add variety and help recover from hard aerobic or strength workouts. No doubt yoga can be done at a high or low intensity and there are hundreds of postures that can provide a workout for any athletic need.

For Everyone

There are various styles of yoga. This range from very dynamic, active; movements and it moves from one posture to another. The result is possible through aerobic workout. And this is more slow-paced practices that hold postures for several minutes and form an intense strength training and balance workout.

Wrapping Up

Frankly, yoga is really an easy exercise to do. It is body friendly and quite effective. There is no doubt that yoga can be a great life changer for you.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.