Yoga – I can’t live with out it. I’m a firm believer that yoga has helped me in all aspects physically and mentally. I started going to MountainGoat Yoga Centre in Barrhaven four years ago. I was looking for an “athletic” style of yoga that would give my strengthening and stretching. At the time I wasn’t too interested in the “spiritual” aspects of yoga. But now after four years of fairly steady practice – I’ve come to appreciate the full-body benefits of yoga. My body is leaner, stronger, more flexible and my crazy brain has learned how to relax and live in the moment. I fully believe that yoga has helped me rebound from injury more quickly, prevented injuries, and has definitely strengthened my upper body and core.
There are a lot of yoga studios in the Ottawa-area. I’ve tried quite a few. But MountainGoat is it for me. The environment is very welcoming, the teachers are top-notch, the other students are super friendly. Just what I want – a healthy and friendly environment where I can take some time to develop my body and brain. MountainGoat Yoga Centre has helped me out so much this year – promoting my sponsorship package and providing me with free yoga classes.
Top Ten Reasons to Start Yoga
As yoga grows ever more popular, athletes of all types are incorporating the practice of yoga into their training. Athletes know that flexibility is a key aspect of healthy muscle and therefore better overall performance within their sport.
Athletes of all sorts tend to over develop certain muscle groups, while at the same time within other muscle groups there is an underdevelopment. Ultimately muscles that are continuously overdeveloped become tight and inflexible causing an imbalance in the body that will eventually lead to injury.
Runners tend to have tight hamstrings; cyclists often have tight quadriceps. Those engaged in throwing sports or swimming may complain of tired or aching shoulders; golfers and tennis players may have more freedom of rotation in one direction than the other.
Yoga is one way to manage the demands on an athletes body and bring back a sense of limberness to an already strong body!
Here’s 10 reasons to begin your yoga practice today:
FLEXIBILITY: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement. With an increase in ROM muscles move faster and further giving the athlete an extra edge. Many people can’t touch their toes during their first yoga class. Over time, the muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making more poses possible and enjoyable. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in better posture.
DECREASES RISK OF INJURY: A flexible muscle is a healthy muscle. A muscle that can respond to the lightning fast demands of quick movement within sports is essential. Athletes require that muscles lengthen when required without putting undue stress on the joints to decrease any risk of injury…..this is where a flexible muscle becomes an indispensable requirement.
PAIN RELIEF: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga asanas (postures), combined with deeper breathing, reduced pain for people with conditions such as muscles spasns/cramping, arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions. Some practitioners report that even emotional pain can be eased through the practice of yoga.
INCREASED STRENGTH: Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength literally from head to toe. Holding your own body weight for the duration of the yoga posture sculpts strong muscles but also builds stamina.
STRESS RELIEF: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
BETTER BREATHING: Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body’s relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body. The more oxygen available to the muscles the better overall performance.
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Yoga (even less vigorous styles) can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well being and self esteem.
IMPROVED CIRCULATION: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.
CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONING: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardio-vascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
FOCUS ON THE PRESENT: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind body health. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory. Yoga gives you time to get to know your body better.
Convinced? Check out the schedules and class details for MountainGoat Yoga Centre. Your body and brain will thank you.
Massive thanks to Heather and all the other great teachers at MountainGoat. Your support this year has helped me so much – on and off the bike. I look forward to my yoga classes every week – a chance to recharge and refresh my body and mind.