I used to be a footy player and when I quit the NRL I turned my focus to personal training. During that time I was looking for a new way to challenge myself so I ended up running 37 ultra endurance races all over the world in the space of 5 years.
Now I’m built like a footy player and I’m far from have the physique to be an ultra endurance athlete, but I loved the challenge that it placed on me, especially the mental challenge so I really enjoyed this experience. My body however, was often very sore.
At the recommendation of a friend, I started practicing yoga at a place in North Bondi called Dharma Shala and I found that it improved my recovery, performance, mindset and mood 10 fold. It’s then when I also met Kate Kendall who later because the co- creator of Flow Athletic with me.
Now that you have a real life example of how yoga helped my performance, here are some additional reasons why yoga is great for men.
Improved range of movement and mobility
There’s no denying that many of us, particularly if we have a job that keeps us seated for most of the day, or as we age, suffer from injuries due to stiffness and poor range of motion. This is because in both cases our muscles and connective tissue become tight and restrictive, which can result in limb and joint pain.
While strength training is important for everyone, if you don’t balance it out, you do risk struggling with the above.
By practicing yoga on a regular basis, you can improve your flexibility and reduce the risk to a great extent.
A study by the American Council on Exercise, found that regular practice of Hatha yoga significantly improved the subjects flexibility, muscular strength, endurance and balance. After 8 weeks, the group improved their flexibility by 13% to 35%.
An APS stress and wellbeing survey has found that 35% of Australians report having significant levels of distress in their lives with 26% reporting above normal levels of anxiety symptoms. These results that were recorded in 2015 and were significantly higher than the previous results recorded in 2011.
Yoga emphasises breathing and the mind/ body connection, therefore it yields strong emotional benefits. In fact people who practice yoga report that they sleep better and feel less stressed.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health tested 30 female students after a simple 20 minute Hatha yoga session. The results showed that the students speed and accuracy on tests of working memory improved significantly after the class.
The findings suggested that participants were able to process information more quickly and accurately and they could hold onto information more effectively after performing yoga over aerobic exercise.
This may be because the breathing exercises helped to reduce anxiety and stress as well as the enhanced self awareness that many experience in a yoga class.
Improves Our Athletic Performance:
Yoga helps you build your strength as you tend to hold poses for quite a while (depending on the class) and you are constantly flowing into the next movement.
It is also great for balance, flexibility, mobility and mental endurance. All of which are needed if you were to be participating in any endurance event or having to lift a very heavy weight.
There are lots of professional athletes that consider yoga to be a very important part of their training schedule. If it is good enough for them, it is good enough for you!
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Yoga provides the opportunity to meet new people and connect with people who all have the same intention of you. I think that the community vibe that group fitness can deliver is also a reason why fitness events have been doing so well.
If you’re new to yoga or if you want to try a unique experience, I suggest getting your mates together (or get your partner) to come to an event such as the Flow After Dark silent yoga disco.
The event is fun, unpretentious and there are hundreds of people all moving in sync with the same intention as you.
The event consists of a 90 minute yoga class led by Kate Kendall and
DJ James Mack who will be on the decks. Guests wear noise cancelling headphones which will allow yogis to really connect with the instructor and the music for the most zen night out yet. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to yoga, or try a new experience
The world’s biggest Flow After Dark will be taking place on May 30 at the Horden Pavillion.