If you live in Kamloops and love sports, chances are you’re either playing a team or individual sport to have fun and stay in shape. That’s so great! Sports are an excellent way to enjoy taking care of your body, and so often you get the social bonus of camaraderie and feeling of belonging and participation.
One of the things that can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your sport, and how well you play it, is knowing how to align, strengthen, and stretch your body in the most optimal way. You might already be stretching as part of your fitness routine (which is awesome), however there are ways to get more benefits out of lengthening your muscles.
And there are some tips you can learn to avoid injury as well.
What am I talking about? Yoga.
Now, let’s clear up some misconceptions right off the bat.
- You do not have to be flexible to do yoga. If your hands don’t come remotely near your toes when you do a forward bend, don’t worry about it. You’ll still get enormous benefit from it, and you will gain flexibility as you go along.
- Yoga is not some wussy thing for girls. Believe it or not, a lot of ‘real guys’ (and super strong women) do yoga. Like football and soccer players, and big shot business execs for that matter. Chances are high that you’ll be surprised at how challenging it is, and how great you feel after class.
- You will not look like an idiot. Any more than everyone else who went through their first classes at some point, anyway. And no one will look at you and think “what do they think they’re doing here?” Because they, at some time, were brand new beginners too. If they even notice you, they’ll be silently encouraging you for being courageous enough to show up for class.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s talk about why you want to do yoga in the first place.
Why Yoga is Great for Sports and Fitness, and How to Find a Class in Kamloops
Here are some of the super excellent benefits of doing a style of yoga that concentrates on optimal alignment and finding balance between strength and flexibility:
- Increases circulation and your ability to BREATHE, which helps you run faster and play harder
- Increases endurance and stamina
- Increases range of motion
- Helps you avoid injury by lengthening the muscles that get tight from playing and working out
- Supports overall health in myriad ways (including balancing hormones – hello adrenaline junkies – and supporting internal organs)
- Creates a balance between strength and flexibility, which gives you more power and agility
The type of yoga you do matters, as does the teacher and their style of teaching. Here are some things to consider when you look for a yoga class and teacher.
There is a huge range when it comes to the skills and training of yoga instructors. Some have studied for years under the world’s most masterful teachers, while others took a weekend course – and then there’s everything in between.
Though it is ultimately your responsibility to listen to your body and make sure you aren’t putting yourself in pain, having a professional teacher who can show you how to get the most out of yoga is crucial to your enjoyment and results.
What to look for in a yoga teacher and class:
- Find someone you like – you should feel comfortable with the teacher and trust them because of who they are, how they treat you, and how they teach.
- Try different classes (unless you find one you really like right off the bat) – look for classes where you feel challenged and have fun.
- Make sure the teacher instructs alignment that feels good in your body.
Interview yoga teachers before you go to their class (if you can). Ask them:
- What kind of yoga style the teach, and what you can expect from their class.
- How much training they’ve had and what their focus is.
- Do they practice with the class or do they walk around so they can see the students. (Hint: You’ll get more personal instruction from teachers who walk around and they will generally be able to help you more with alignment or if you’re confused.)
I highly recommend Anusara® yoga instructors, as they are among the most skilled yoga teachers in the world. Yes, I’m slightly biased, as I am an Anusara-Inspired™ yoga teacher, however I say this from experience from taking all kinds of classes with teachers around North America. Though there are quality teachers within all of the styles, I’ve found Anusara yoga instructors the most consistent as far as competency and skill are concerned.
Having a quality teacher to guide you when you do yoga makes all the difference in the world. It can be the deciding factor on whether you learn how to avoid injury and improve your sports game, or take risks that increase your chances of injury (which obviously isn’t good for you or your team).
And, of course, the pure enjoyment you get from a yoga class that is masterfully instructed is worth the time it takes to find the class and teacher who are right for you.
Bottom line: when you learn optimal alignment and find the balance between strength and flexibility that yoga can bring, you can play harder and have more fun in whatever sport you love.
Find out more about Anusara-Inspired yoga in Kamloops.
And if you’re a woman and want to take your fitness to the next level, check out my Kamloops Yoga Fitness Boot Camp for Women.