Yoga and the Active Life


Most yoga students are active people. Yoga is only one box they check on their day or week of sports, fitness, and overall health. Many come to yoga with some vague goal of “stretching.” But very few know that yoga can enhance their abilities–and their enjoyment—of running, swimming, surfing, tennis, golf, skiing (downhill and cross-country), basketball, softball, soccer, and all other sports.

Intelligent yoga can also supplement or replace classic fitness, weight training, and cardio.

How does this work? Yoga is essentially a deep form of physical therapy: The postures realign our bodies, enabling our muscles to support our bones and collaborate with each other for efficient and effective movement. In other words, yoga returns your body to the intelligent whole it was at birth—before years of unconscious, often unfortunate under- and overuse left it lopsided, unbalanced, and generally out of whack.

The human body is extraordinarily resilient and can accommodate extreme abuse. Sometimes I just stand on the sidewalk in New York City and marvel at the parade of damaged bodies that still manage to stand up, walk, navigate subway stairs, and carry stuff. But none of us is doomed to living in a body that barely functions.

My 93-year-old dad, who has never exercised a day in his life, started chair yoga with me several months ago. He felt the benefit after two lessons!

My dad would settle for just being able to get around the house without his walker and without a fall. I encourage those of you who still have time to seize the day: Retool your yoga to meet your specific athletic and fitness goals! A student in her 70s commented this morning that just as she was perfecting her golf game, aging removed much of her ability. I like to think it doesn’t have to be so! I’ve seen the reverse-aging, anti-chronological power of yoga restore many, many people to astounding levels of physical fitness and athletic performance, including:

  • A teenage fencer recouping from debilitating hand and knee surgeries
  • A former champion golfer sidelined by chronic back pain
  • A 76-year-old veteran of multiple surgeries who’s up and about on his bike and the golf course
  • My twenty-something niece, whose riding instructor sent her to yoga to improve her form

Yoga News Jun 9, 2022

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