I’m sure this would come as no surprise to Swami Vivekananda, but yoga is finding its place among the popular training methodologies for elite athletes in their quest for a competitive edge.
When you consider the mental, emotional and physical benefits of yoga, it’s really no surprise!
Athletic pursuits such as running and jumping, not to mention getting thrown off your feet at a full run by a 350 pound gorilla, tend to tighten and shorten the muscles, inhibiting flexibility and increasing the likelihood of injury. Health and longevity in any sport are enhanced when the muscles are limber and loose and those of us who practice regularly know that there is nothing like that blissful feeling of length that comes from a session of yoga.
NBA star Blake Griffin attests to the benefits, ”For me, flexibility is huge,” Griffin said. “Staying loose and healthy and staying limber–you can tell a difference when your muscles are tight or when you’re stretched out and completely relaxed. I’ve heard from a lot of guys that flexibility is the key to longevity in this league,” Griffin said. “For those guys who want to play a long time, I think it’s important.”
Along with the physical and medical benefits are the mental and emotional effects as well. According to a German study published in 2005, 24 women who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months. Women in a control group maintained their normal activities and were asked not to begin an exercise or stress-reduction program during the study period. At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported vast improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being.