Power Yoga For Athletes : Men’s Yoga Guide
Is Power Yoga the perfect addition to your training regime? Whether you're a high-performance athlete or recreational runner, discover the history, forms and benefits of Power Yoga for men in our ultimate guide : 'Power Yoga For Athletes'.
Exercise and training for an athlete can come in many forms: drills with your team, cardio, weight lifting, and of course, lots of practice to get properly skilled in your sport. Another thing to consider as you develop into a high-performing athlete whether it's running, cycling, or any other adventure sport, is practising Power Yoga.
Yoga may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to a high-performance athlete or recreational runner, but you will be surprised at the benefits Power Yoga can offer the athletic man. Let’s take a quick look at why power yoga is an optimal addition to your training regime by exploring its history, forms, and benefits.
A Brief History Of Yoga
First of all, yoga is certainly not new; it’s been around for thousands of years. It’s evolved since its early inceptions into what we see in gyms and yoga studios today. People from every background are rolling out their yoga mats to stretch, bend, and twist to improve their bodies. Yoga, however, didn’t always involve stretching, holding postures, or flowing through carefully constructed yoga sequences.
Yoga was and still is considered a philosophy and lifestyle.
More than 5,000 years ago, the idea of yoga was acknowledged as a way of life; steering your life course toward physical and mental health, as well as a deeper connection to the Divine. This was done through verbal teachings and other life lessons that were eventually written down. The ancient texts of yoga hold guidelines for living an authentic and empowering life. The intention was to achieve Enlightenment.
The Origin Of Power Yoga
Many forms of yoga emerged over the centuries, yet most of them hold the ancient philosophical intentions that were created to live a healthy lifestyle. One such form of yoga is called Power Yoga. This is an extension of a more classic style of yoga practice called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. To make yoga more mainstream, Power Yoga was developed and introduced to the fitness world as the gym culture was having its own revolution. In the early 1980s, people were flocking to gyms to take aerobics classes and lift weights.
Power Yoga made its way onto the scene because it offered a new perspective on taking care of the mind and body.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a highly structured yoga technique established by K. Pattabhi Jois in the late 1940s in India. It incorporates the early teachings of the yogic philosophy as well as introduced a carefully synchronized set of yoga poses that flow together fluidly. The overall intention of this fast-moving, energetic, and demanding practice was to cleanse and purify the mind and body. The ultimate goal was to enable the individual to be rid of the physical, mental, and spiritual obstacles that hinder a productive, healthy, and enlightened life.
What’s intriguing about Ashtanga is that when you attend a session, you will always perform the same set of poses in the same sequence. This is to establish and teach discipline, dedication, mental and physical growth.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga helps to provide strength, agility, purpose, and focus to all that practice.
The physical nature of Ashtanga was the selling factor to the Western culture as it evolved into Power Yoga. When you attend a Power Yoga class, it will feel like some of those early aerobics classes: continuous movement, physical agility, and a good amount of sweat.
The difference between Power Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga is that Power Yoga is less structured than its predecessor.
Where Ashtanga has a strict set of poses practised each time, a free-form aspect is experienced in Power Yoga. However, the poses in Power Yoga come directly from the Ashtanga style.
Power Yoga & The Athlete
Why is this important to know and how it is related to you, the athlete? If you examine the foundational principles of Power Yoga, you will see a direct correlation with what is needed to be a good athlete.
The Qualities Of An Athlete
Whatever adventure sport or activity you engage in as an athlete, the following principles are probably a part of the equation of becoming a proficient sportsperson. On a physical level, you need to acquire a sense of strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, and body awareness that is directly related to your sport. Emotionally, you need to have a positive sense of self, confidence, and even an appreciation for the sport that you play. Mental focus, patience, commitment, dedication, and determination are also factors for becoming a solid and grounded athlete.
When you look at the principles taught in Power Yoga, a direct lineage of classic styles of yoga and ancient philosophy, you can see the relationship with the athletic principles.
Benefits Of Power Yoga For The Male Athlete
Yoga of any style, but in particular Power Yoga for men, enhances the physical, emotional, and mental being. You can increase your strength, flexibility, and balance. Yoga will help you clear your mind to have the mental focus needed to concentrate on your sport. It also eases your mind, free you from mental and emotional distractions that can hinder your performance. Let’s take a more specific look at this intersection between being an athlete and practising Power Yoga.
Power Yoga For Men
How can Power Yoga benefit the long-distance runner?
As a runner, you need strength, flexibility, good breathing skills, and endurance to run many miles. Adding Power Yoga to your training methodology can greatly enhance your performance. Actively moving through sequenced poses and holding particular postures in a Power Yoga class will help stretch your hamstrings, strengthen your quadriceps, loosen your hip flexors, and even improve your glutes, low back, and calves.
You also need to be able to concentrate and create a rhythm in your stride when you’re a long-distance runner. In Power Yoga, you move through sequenced poses that are aligned masterfully with each inhale and exhale. This sets a good cadence and balance for the body and mind. The constant movement of the body through each yoga pose also builds the endurance one needs for this active sport.
Other positive advantages you gain from the Power Yoga practice are core strength, better balance, focus, drive, and determination. The more you practice yoga, you’ll experience physical as well as mental and emotional benefits.
Where & When To Practice Power Yoga
Any time is the right time to practice Power Yoga. Even if you're a beginner, you can start doing yoga and witness the changes in your active sport and exercise.
If you’re new to Power Yoga, try a beginner’s class; they are generally easy to find in gyms and local yoga studios. Hire a private yoga instructor to teach you the fundamentals of the yoga practice. They will be able to tailor a class that specifically suits your needs as an athlete. Need to watch your budget? Search for beginner yoga videos online. There are plenty to choose from and you’re sure to find tutorials and full classes that will fit your intentions.
If you have already dipped your toe in the yoga pool, keep on swimming. Try to practice 2-3 times per week to see rapid changes in your athletic performance. You can practice yoga as a preparation for your sport (i.e. to limber up your joints and warm up your muscles.) It is a great way to tune into your breathing, muscle strength, alignment, balance, and more.
It is also ideal to attend a yoga class as a recovery activity.
After a long hard run or bike ride, hit the yoga mat to stretch, cool down, and control breathing. These will help with things like reducing lactic acid production and muscle stiffness so you are ready for the next round of exercise. Holding some yoga postures, for example, tap into releasing bound-up connective tissue that leads to poorer performance. Engaging in such activities will also prevent some sports-related injuries.
Schedule yoga sessions in between your training sessions to enhance your body and mind on many levels. Practice deep breathing to calm and ease your mind for better concentration. Strengthen and stretch your muscles with regular practice. Gain added flexibility, agility, and mobility each time you step onto your yoga mat.
Establish a greater sense of self, confidence, and pride as you pursue your athletic dreams.
The list goes on and on when it comes to the results you can achieve when Power Yoga is introduced to your regular workout and training routine. Take a moment to think about what you specifically need or desire to be better at your sport, then go to a Power Yoga class with that intention. You are sure to walk away with a new set of strategies for becoming a great athlete.
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