Yoga may be thousands of years old but only now is it becoming an accepted and integral part of many fitness programs. According to the most recent IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, Yoga tops the list of popular group exercise and training programs.
For yogis around the world, this does not come as a surprise.
“Yoga is a more holistic approach to athletics. It keeps you healthy, prevents injuries, and it’s a way to use the energy of your body and your mind,” says Wendy Billie, a Yoga Instructor from Ottertail, Minnesota who was trained in India.
“Yoga is not fitness, it’s an energetic tool that helps someone harmonize their internal system,” says Wendy.
OK that’s deep. But it’s also true. More athletes are including yoga in their training, not to get in shape, but to use their muscles and their minds in a different way.
At Ready Fitness we sell all the accoutrements of Yoga from mats to blocks and straps. We are finding that more often, our clients want a “Space for Yoga” included in the design of their fitness space. At Modera Vinings Apartments in Georgia, the space is actually set apart from the traditional fitness equipment.
“Michael Jordan often talked about visualizing making free throws, that is exactly what yoga does for athletes. They can focus their minds to win, by visualizing,” says Wendy who came to yoga after years of long-distance running.
Beyond the focus to win, Yoga can improve flexibility, align posture, improve your balance and make your breathing more efficient.
But Wendy warns… listen to your body. And go only where you can breathe easily. When your breathing becomes labored, back off. It’s not a competition, yoga is personal. It taps into you.
So next time you hit the gym, try to hit the yoga mat too.