Integrating Yoga for Athletes: What Athletes Really Need

What Is Yoga For Athletes?

Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise among athletes. There are many reasons why they choose it. One reason is because it helps them stay fit and healthy. Another reason is that yoga provides a good workout routine for their bodies. They feel better after doing yoga than before doing any kind of physical activity or even exercising at all!

The Benefits Of Yoga For Athletes:

It’s easy to get into. You don’t need much time to learn how to practice yoga. Most of the beginners start practicing it within just a few days.

You’ll be able to lose weight easily without any problem if you practice yoga regularly. If you’re overweight, then your diet will improve too since you won’t have as much trouble with eating food when doing yoga exercises.

If you want to build up strength, flexibility and endurance, then you’ll definitely benefit from yoga. You’ll be able to do some activities like running, jumping rope and other sports that require high levels of coordination.

Yoga is good for your mental health too. Many studies have shown that yoga improves concentration and increases positive emotions such as happiness and joy. (Source)

“I am not only a yogi but I’m also a healer.”

~ Bikram Choudhury

The above quote is from the famous yogi, Bikram Choudhury. He created a type of hot yoga known as Bikram Yoga. This form of yoga involves doing 26 postures in a single sequence. Even though many people think that it’s too difficult for them to do, there are classes available for every level of fitness.

Bikram Yoga vs. Hatha

A common type of yoga is Hatha. It’s done at a slower pace and involves the participants to hold their bodies in certain positions for several minutes. If you’re new to yoga, it might be best to start with Hatha since it’s easier than Bikram.

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However, even if you start with Hatha, you may want to eventually try out Bikram Yoga. Not many people like to do it because of the heat, but once you get used to it, you may feel great during and after doing the exercises. Perhaps this is why Bikram says he feels “alive and free” in hot rooms.

The Major Differences Between Bikram And Hatha Are:

Bikram is a set sequence of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises done in a room that’s about 40 degrees Celsius.

The sequence of poses is the same every single time.

You will need to prepare yourself for the room temperature, so wear as little clothing as possible.

Bikram yoga is done in rooms that are around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). This is hot, even for a sauna! It’s important to know that you shouldn’t do this if you have any major health issues since the heat can worsen them. Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine. (Source)

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

You may be wondering why do people put themselves through such torturous heat when they can just as easily do the same postures in a room that’s more comfortable for them.

Holding the poses for longer periods of time will strengthen your muscles and give you a better workout. Some people even say that they feel “cleansed” or “refreshed” after doing hot yoga. The heat increases the blood flow to your muscles which makes them more flexible and relaxes your body.

The Benefits Of Bikram Yoga Are:

You’ll increase strength as well as flexibility.

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You’ll improve your posture and ability to do tasks involving your spine.

It’s a great stress reliever.

You can burn up to 639 calories in a single class. (This is higher than regular Hatha yoga)

You’ll lose weight and stay fit.

Bikram Choudhury started doing yoga in the 1970s when he was living in the United States as a student. He felt yoga benefited him physically and mentally so he started to teach it to others. He believed that yoga should be taught in a certain way so that people would get the most out of their classes.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that he actually started making his own poses. The sequence of 26 has remained the same since the beginning. He created them in a way to benefit people’s health the most. (Source)

“Anything is possible as long as you have the courage and determination.”

~ Bikram Choudhury

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These are the 26 postures, also called asanas, that make up the Bikram Yoga sequence:

1. Standing Forward Bend

2. Quad Stretch

3. Lunge

4. Crescent Lunge

5. Plank

6. Right Side Lunge

7. Chair

8. Cobra Pose

9. Pushups (toes or feet)

10. Locust Pose

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11. Bridge Pose

12. Right Leg Raised In Air (Raised To Right Angle, 90 Degrees)

13. Half Tortoise

14. Hand Stand (Wall Supported)

15. Half Frog Pose

16. Warrior I

17. Side Angle (left leg forward)

18. Warrior II

19. Three Legged Dog

20. Downward Facing Dog

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21. Plank To Push-Up Position (descending each time)

22. Backbend

23. Bridge Pose With Feet Raised Up

24. Knees To Chest In Center (deep stretch)

25. Half Tortoise

26. Corpse Pose

Bikram Choudhury also created “Bikram Yoga College of India”. It currently has seven branches in the United States. It also has nine branches in 25 other countries. The goal of this college is to teach new teachers and give them a “Bikram Yoga Teacher Certification.” (Source)

Unfortunately, Choudhury has not always been respected for his accomplishments. In the past, he’s been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It’s pretty disappointing when figures that are meant to be respected end up doing things like this because they’re either losing their way spiritually or morally corrupt.

Bikram yoga is still a great practice that will help you in many ways. As long as the teacher respects his or her students, then it should be a good experience. Anyone can do Bikram yoga and get something out of it. It’s a great practice that strengthens your mind and body.

What Is Your Experience With Yoga?

Have you ever tried Bikram yoga? What was your experience like with it?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Resources:

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Sources & references used in this article:

Potential effect of an integrated yoga therapy on alteration of myoelectric signal acquisition of vastus lateralis muscle among athletes with patellar tendinosis by S Mukherjee – Indian Journal of Physical Education, Sports …, 2018 – indianjournals.com

Integrated mindfulness-based intervention: Effects on mindfulness skills, cognitive interference and performance satisfaction of young elite badminton players by J Doron, Q Rouault, M Jubeau, M Bernier – Psychology of Sport and …, 2020 – Elsevier

Rolfing: Reestablishing the natural alignment and structural integration of the human body for vitality and well-being by IP Rolf – 1989 – books.google.com

Lifestyles and mindsets of Olympic, Paralympic and world champions: is an integrated approach the key to elite performance? by L Burns, JR Weissensteiner, M Cohen – British journal of sports …, 2019 – bjsm.bmj.com