Yoga & How It Changed My View of Fitness

Yoga & How It Changed My View of Fitness

For the second year in a row, your boy participated in the annual Houston 10k back in October of 2019. I placed well and was happy with my results, however, was alarmed at how sore I was yet again.

I figured a year’s worth of consistent running and a hard month of training before the race would have helped with recovery, but nope, I was just as sore as the year before.   

A few days after the race, I stumbled upon a Joe Rogan Podcast clip on my YouTube feed.  Not sure why this clip appeared, but the timing couldn’t have been better.

That YouTube video introduced me to the world of yoga.

A Brief History of Yoga

Evidence of yoga’s origins date back 5,000 years (some historians say 10,000) to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in present day India. Yoga, like all ancient religions, cultures, and philosophies, have a complex history.

The practice westerners see today are a result of creative merging and development of philosophies over thousands of years including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Pre-classical yoga consisted of beliefs, ideas, philosophy, techniques, and occasionally contradict one another. This is not the yoga Americans see today. It wasn’t until post 1 A.D. that the physical body became the focal point of yoga, not just the mind. 

From the late 1800s to early 1900s, the first significant wave of immigrants from India began arriving in the U.S, yoga masters included.

In 1893, religious teacher Swami Vivekananda introduced Americans to the philosophical side of yoga when he addressed the Parliament of Religions at the World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois. This event considered a monumental turning point for yoga in the West.

In the 1920s and 1930s, yoga was strongly marketed in the U.S., and in 1947, the first yoga studio opened on Hollywood Blvd.

Yoga has blown up ever since with an estimated 16 billion practitioners in the U.S today.

Men Doing Yoga

If you stroll by a yoga studio, you’ll notice that they are predominantly filled with women. In fact, 4 out of 5 yoga students are women.

For me, the thought of going into a majority women fitness class seemed daunting (and still does). But you have to start somewhere. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that people, men especially, believe yoga is just stretching, making it sound as if it’s easy to do. Yoga is more and much harder than stretching. Yes, you stretch while doing yoga, but other aspects such as controlling your breathing, core/stability training, etc. are often overlooked. And regardless of how good of shape you think you’re in, yoga will whip you’re a** from start to finish.

Modern professional athletes practice yoga on and off season, so why can’t everyone else? If world renown athletes like Lebron James and Tom Brady practice yoga year round, then yoga offers benefits for both men and women.

My Experience with Yoga

After watching Joe Rogan’s Podcast YouTube clip, and seeing how much yoga positively impacted Joe for the better, I decided to give yoga a try.

I went on Amazon, order a yoga mat, and pondered whether or not to attend a yoga class. I thought about it for a while, and decided that attending a yoga session will be for future occasions. Instead, I downloaded the Down Dog app. Six bucks a month and you get unlimited yoga sessions from your very own choosing, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

My recovery has drastically improved in the gym and on the running trails. I can lift heavier weights for more reps. I am no longer sore like I’d used to be after long runs. Funny enough, nagging injuries from high school simply disappeared after one month of yoga. No more tight hamstrings and stiff lower back. Yoga was the solution.

With everyone sitting down the majority of their day, combined with fitness routines that tighten your muscles and core, yoga is the only counterbalance to live a complete, healthy life.

Everyone’s looking for fitness goals in 2020. Do yourself a favor and add yoga to that list.

“Life is all about balance.”

Book of the Month:    “Boy 30529: A Memoir” by Felix Weinburg

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