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HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES

Benefits of Yoga

“Being an athlete and a person who has stretched, lifted weights, and performed cardio for 17 years, I didn’t think there was much out there in the fitness world I didn’t know much about or could benefit further from. I am a gymnast, and we stretch all the time. I have been able to do splits since I was 12 years old.

Due to some recent digestive problems I became interested in learning more about what I could do for my body in addition to seeing doctors and taking medicine. My sister-in-law, Meredith Bryne, suggested yoga. I was familiar with some of the yoga poses, but I had no idea about the relaxation philosophies, the breathing, or what the ‘flow’ of yoga was. Meredith lent me some books and I quickly learned that I would be best off trying some classes to get a handle on what this yoga business was all about.

Even though by most standards I am in pretty good shape, my first yoga class felt like a lot of exertion and not a lot of relaxation. Granted, it was an hour and a half ‘athletic yoga’ class (hey, I am a glutton for punishment) but still. I had trouble following along and felt slightly embarrassed when my next door neighbor, whom I didn’t even know worked out, was doing balance poses perfectly and here I was, a gymnast who can do a back flip on the beam, tipping over like I was drunk. Undeterred, I figured I would try some other classes and give it a chance before I made a decision. Luckily I did, because yoga is one of my favorite parts of my week now, and my body is doing a lot better overall.

Not only does yoga feel really, really great (I feel better than I would if I had an hour massage when I’m done), but you feel calm and in control of your life. After a few weeks, I found I was no longer struggling to hold the poses, which meant my muscles, in spite of my regular heavy weight training, had become even stronger. I noticed an increased range of motion in all muscles, but especially the tightest area of my body, my calfs and achilles. Because of the added strength and flexibility in my ankles I no longer need to wear an ankle brace when I train, and I have no pain in my ankles any more. I also have reduced my formerly frequent muscle pulls (primarily hamstring and calf) to almost never. My abdominal surgery that left me with a stiff midsection has been loosening up faster than any of the surgeons predicted.

And the digestive problems? Well, they have still been up and down, but I am sticking with yoga. I encourage everyone to try a few classes—you might be surprised at the benefits you notice! And guys, don’t be shy—there are plenty of male yogis!”


This article was provided by Home Exercise Coach
For more information on Home Exercise Coach, check out their full profile here.
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