I’m guessing that many of my readers who came to my blog for the running-related posts may grow tired of all the yoga posts of late. I will admit that the distribution between the two has gotten a tad off-balance. But there is good reason — I think.
The main reason for my step back from running, as you may remember, was my bilateral ankle tendonitis following the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. My ankles are still so vulnerable over a year later. I honestly do not know how those of you who do multiple marathons in a year and/or ultra-marathons do it. I am so thankful that I had some sort of physical activity to keep me active. Although not quite the cardiovascular workout that I have been accustomed to for the majority of my life, it certainly has proved to be an awesome workout.
Even before my injury, when I first rolled out my mat, my goal was stretching my overworked legs. I felt that improved flexibility could only translate to reduced risk of injury. If, in the process, I gained a little more strength in my core that would be a bonus. But I soon found that there is much more to this practice of yoga then initially thought — especially for athletes like myself. This was far more than what I got out the Yoga for Athletes video that I pulled out now and again over the past years.
I recently came across this article on the topic of athletes and yoga. I think it does a nice job of listing out the benefits in a way that the athlete-minded individual can relate to — well, except for the last point. I honestly feel that point should not have been included, even if truthful. In my humble opinion yoga studios, and fitness centers for that matter, are sacred places for cultivating the mind and body. *sigh* I digress.
Strength, balance, flexibility, and mental control are all beneficial to athletic performance. The benefits of strength, balance, and flexibility are obvious. However, establishing a mind-body connection through the asanas or poses, as well as meditation, is invaluable to performance and injury prevention. I speak from experience — though limited.