My friends at school are totally into ninjas and think they are better and stronger than yogis. My mom says that's not true. Who's right? Max H.
Max, there has been plenty of research and studies done on this subject, so I’m glad you came to me to get the real answers. Sure, ninjas are known for their extreme stealth, intense combat capabilities, and quick reflexes. Like yogis, they have developed and evolved from ancient philosophy and practices, becoming more and more popular among today’s Western culture.
However, as more money and time is put into the research of ninjas versus yogis, it is also becoming more apparent just how many advantages yogis have over ninjas:
First Is Flexibility
Yogis spend a lot of time treating the muscles and the joints in order to bend easily without any breaking. When is the last time you saw a ninja in battle with his legs behind his head?
Next Is The Yogi’s Unwavering Focus
With much attention being paid to the breath and mind, yogis have developed quite intense focus. Breathing practices like Kapalabhati help yogis to zero in on the present, a skill that is needed quite often in today’s society.
Then We Have The Yogi’s Strength
Sure, yogis are mostly known for being able to touch their toes really, really well, but what most people tend to ignore is their incredible strength. The cardio involved in a lot of yoga styles, combined with long holds and way too many Chaturanga push-ups makes going head to head with a yogi quite the impossible feat.
Finally, We Have Balance
If you put together all of the yogi’s positive assets listed above, you get balance. While it’s pretty cool to be able to walk on your hands or stand on one foot, yogis make the constant effort to not only find balance on the mat, but also in their normal, everyday lives. To be able to find true peace in your mind, even in times of hardship, trouble, and pain, is by far the greatest skill of all. (Plus, yeah, we can walk on our hands).
All jokes aside, recognizing the capabilities of all physical practices is a huge part of yoga. To be able to pick out and transfer skills from other physical art forms like martial arts and gymnastics is an incredibly beautiful and important advantage in the world of yoga. These different forms of movement allow us to really understand and appreciate the way we move our bodies.
If you have the opportunity to take a Tae Kwon Do class or something of the like, pay attention to your teacher’s instructions. Quite often, the cues he or she will give you will be quite similar to the things your yoga instructor tells you in your Vinyasa class. If the cues are completely different, try to evaluate and understand them, and maybe even apply them to your asana practice. Keeping an open and agile mind will help you to grow as a yogi on and off the mat.