Is yoga a sport?
Yoga is a good exercise but it can not be considered as a sport. It is a physical and mental practice that promotes the well-being of the whole organism.
Despite the popularity of yogic disciplines such as Bikram Yoga , which seek to make the body sweat, real yoga is not that. It is much more and its objective is not merely sporting.
Yoga encompasses a wide range of bodily practices aimed at achieving a better physical and mental state. The most known and practiced type of yoga is Hatha Yoga and is based on the realization of postures, breathing techniques, concentration and meditation to transform the body and mind. But it is not a sport, it is a work of self-awareness to learn to be and to be in the present moment.
It is true that physical exercise is practiced through postures. But the purpose of this discipline is not to perform them in the most perfect way or acquire a flexible and toned body. Neither should be done if what you want is to lose weight. Although, with regular practice, more flexibility will be acquired and it is even possible to lose weight.
Differences with a sport
A sport has a number of characteristics that are not contemplated when practicing yoga. For example, sports in general exercise competitiveness, effort – sometimes increasing the risk of injury -, the achievement of a goal that is usually to win?
Yoga, on the other hand, has other objectives, some of them are shared with other sports practices. For example, it promotes self-knowledge and self-improvement, enjoyment and personal work. But his vision is different: he respects his own limits, he does not compare himself to other practitioners, he does not seek a short-term goal and he does not pursue winning a trophy unless it is the achievement of physical and emotional well-being .
If practiced regularly, it is a healthy and healthy exercise. But it is advisable to perform other types of aerobic activities aimed at avoiding sedentary life and promoting oxygenation, better blood circulation and to combat obesity. It is enough to walk every day between 30 and 45 minutes at a quick pace on the way to your yoga center, to work or to meet with your friends.
Yoga and sport were seen in other times as opposites: the calm and silent nature of yoga in contrast to the implicit competitiveness of sport. At present, much more familiar with yoga, we have become a standard of our culture, assimilating – in general rules – much of its philosophy and understanding it as an excellent tool for anything we do, including sports.
The key to squeezing the best of the benefits of yoga in sports is to find a style according to our tastes and needs. There will be those who enjoy more intense and dynamic practice while another prefers a more meditative and relaxed. Whatever the way to approach it, the most important thing is to take our time and listen to our body.
A consistent practice of yoga as a complement to our sports training, brings us the following benefits:
- We develop breathing techniques while improving balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance. A deep and relaxed breathing is the starting point in the fight against anxiety during training (and during life!). Yoga helps us to work the habit of breathing correctly.
- Yoga favors rehabilitation in case of injury, and even prevents them.
- Perhaps the most fundamental: the ability to integrate mind and body in practice is extremely beneficial for those who practice a sport.
- Improves the “central” force. The slow and focused movements strengthen the middle section of the body.
- Increase flexibility and range of motion. The yoga routines incorporate slow and constant flexibility exercises that relieve muscular tension, fundamental to improve our performance.
- Improve balance Many athletes overlook balance exercises. It is typical to develop one side more than the other lifting weights, for example. Yoga can fix these imbalances.
- Yoga is excellent for cross training. Cross training is necessary for those who train in the same discipline throughout the year. Interplaying it with yoga postures reduces the possibility of injury and boredom, and helps you recover from intense aerobic practices or strength exercises.
Today we talk about the benefits of yoga in sports, but I would like to point out one thing: in the global view, these are the same benefits that we get from those working in front of a computer or those who replace products in the supermarket. Because yoga is revealing no matter what we do. Mental strength, physical and emotional balance, focus ability, flexibility, lung capacity, feeling of well-being, physical strength. You want to smile! Yoga has benefits for one and each one of us.