If you think yoga is reserved for a ‘certain’ kind of people, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
When every second of your life is dictated by stress, getting through a single day can be a mountainous feat. This is why it’s important to manage stress while indulging in activities that lessen its effect on your wellbeing. According to a Mayo Clinic study, stress has been linked to depression, anxiety, heart disease, sleeping problems, weight gain, and memory loss. These are six inhibitions on life that can be avoided if you take time to understand and manage your stress.
Yoga is an incredible reliever of stress! It’s a meditation and stretching practice that helps the human body in many ways. For weightlifters yoga is especially great because a lot of the principles and practices taught in yoga can be carried over into lifting. Below are three essential yoga techniques that weightlifters can utilize to better their workouts:
Deep and Controlled Breathing
Breathing exercises are great because they’re subtle, beneficial for your health, and you can do them virtually anywhere. If you’ve noticed fluctuations in your breathing before, it was likely due to how you were feeling at the time.
The next time your heart begins to race and your breathing begins to accelerate with it, try this: (1) inhale through your nose for four seconds, (2) hold the breath for seven seconds, and then (3) release the air over the course of eight seconds.
It’s also important to imagine the air exiting your mouth as if it were a wave. Picturing this in your head will help you develop better breathing techniques and you will have better luck slowing down your heart rate.
Weightlifters can benefit exponentially by implementing these breathing techniques into their workouts. After all, it’s oxygen that keeps your muscles going to begin with.
Because a lot of the movements in yoga are complex and multifaceted, individuals are required to focus diligently on very specific motions in order to execute a full pose with precision. This emphasis on focus is one of the main things that makes yoga so stimulating for the mind—when your brain is locked on doing one specific thing, it makes it nearly impossible for stressful thoughts and emotions to penetrate that wall of concentration.
Weightlifters as well can significantly benefit from the use of unwavering focus. For example: a lifter is set to do 10 reps on the bench but because he focuses on something other than the unimaginable strain on his arm muscles, he is able to push out two to three more reps than he planned on.
Understanding Your Center of Gravity
Individuals who practice yoga are taught very early on how to focus on their center of gravity. In fact, after just a few sessions, most are able to execute tree pose (the one you always see people doing when yoga is depicted anywhere). Weightlifters would be wise to study the balancing techniques that are employed in yoga, for proper application in their sport would have a plurality of benefits.