Yoga's been a saving grace for me not just because it's enjoyable, challenging, and life-changing; it's also given me and countless students a complementary edge in other sports, martial arts, and other active endeavors.
Pair yoga with even the most rugged of sports, and you'll see the benefits. Check this out!
7 Activities Yoga Can Complement and What You Have to Gain
My triathlon clients have claimed yoga has saved their knees, untied knots in their legs and lower back, and assisted with their training and recovery. Check out this funny quote from a student: "Yoga has made me enjoy triathlons more because I'm a nasty competitive bitch and I'm sick of it. Now I just want to try my best. What a relief."
Three of my clients who are runners have overwhelmingly agreed that their stamina due to the yogic practice of deep breathing has skyrocketed and assisted them in their overall endurance training and distance runs.
3. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling
I do submission grappling, and because of yoga, my injuries are kept to a minimum. I'm relatively small and I get tangled up with opponents twice my size and weight, so the whole thing is a recipe for pain and a sore body. My yoga keeps me "rubber-y," fluid, and mostly resistant to injury.
4. Mixed Martial Artist
MMA fighters that I've trained tell me that even in a competition, breathing alone keeps their mind incredibly focused, calm, and sharpened. Poor or shallow breathing will affect their judgement and if you have the power to control this, you can better observe your opponent and know when you should attack. Yogic breathing techniques are vital to keep your cool AND to notice when your opponent loses his or hers.
5. Snowboarding or Skiing
If you're new to either sport (heck, even if you're an old pro), sometimes you fall. As you push these sports to their limits, falling becomes more and more intense and quickly leads to bodily wreckage. If you are tight in ANY way in your body, jarring yourself with a high velocity wipeout is extremely punishing.
Yoga has saved many from such tears, snaps, tweaks, and disasters. The body that's open has a much easier chance of avoiding pain and injury from nasty falls.
6. Parkour or Free Running
In case you've been living under ground for the last few years, you may have missed out on the fascinating growing athletic trend of parkour and free running which combines functional strength, gymnastics, and chimpanzee meets. The body awareness and balance required here are extremely high, and yoga can help you tap into these skills.
7. Ninja Maneuvering and Body Control
These sports are quite fascinating, extreme, and come with a high potential for extreme injuries. I trained with a bunch of guys at Chelsea Peirs in NYC and definitely noticed that my yoga practice gave me an edge in terms of balance, flexibility, controlled landings, take-offs, and most of all, fearlessness (not total fearlessness- but some). I can see how I was already doing stuff in my yoga practice that would assist me to excel at this sport with the least amount of injuries.
Please don't think in terms of giving up something you love to replace it with yoga. Instead, how can you add yoga to your life to enhance what you already have got going? I find it always enhances and adds while it rarely takes away!