One of the best things you can add to your training regime is yoga. Plain and simple. I can hear you saying why? Isn’t yoga for hippies and vegans? The fast answer is no. The long answer involves a look into why people get into yoga and how it has gained such a huge following in the last few years. It isn’t a coincidence that those celebrities with bodies of steel even after they hit forty swear by strong asanas and a good vinyasa flow after a workout. Not just for celebs, yoga is also the well loved activity of high profile athletes because it takes focus to unite the body and mind and leaves you with physical and mental agility.
So what do we mean by the term ‘yoga’
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice formed of meditation and physical exercise. There are many many different types of yoga that have grown rapidly in popularity in the Western world since the early 1980s because it can transform your body using only a soft mat and a few square feet. With Google and YouTube at your fingertips it is also the easiest and cheapest form of exercise to do at home.
Why so many people do Yoga, I know why?
One of the many reasons why everyone from runners to body builders should be adding a quick yoga flow before or after their daily workout is because of the effect it has on your muscles. The movements (or asanas) focus on stretching and lengthening your whole body, which makes it ideal after a warm down. After all better stretching means better recovery, means better performance.
So maybe that has convinced you to begin yoga, but perhaps you don’t know where to start. Googling images of insanely fit acrobats doing headstands on the beach at sunset doesn’t make it seem very attainable, however there is an easier way to add it to your routine. When it comes to yoga for beginners the simplest form of a yoga flow is the sun salutation, a series of poses that many teachers use at the beginning or end of a class because it forms the foundation of many yoga sequences. The slow and steady breathing that accompanies the poses is important and provides mental clarity so the sun salutation is perfect for an early morning focus session that will set you up for the rest of the day.
The image above shows the full sun salutation from start to finish. Simple, right? It begins with a mountain pose that moves into an upward salute, to a standing forward fold, then into a half-standing forward bend, a plank pose (I bet you recognize that one!), down into a four-limbed staff pose, upward facing dog pose, downward facing dog pose, half-standing forward bend, standing forward fold, upward salute and finally into mountain pose again. Repeat the sequence as many times as you like and enjoy the rest of the day telling people that you are now a yogi.
It may seem difficult at first, but as with anything yoga takes patience and practice and you will slowly get better at it. The best way to chart your progress is through taking photos of your poses so share these on our Aflete account as you improve.