Every time I see someone who has glowing skin and looks 10+ years younger than they actually are, I start asking them questions about their lifestyle. It never fails that almost every darn one of them does yoga! For those who work with me, they know that if or when I do yoga, I won’t do it in public because I am a disaster when it comes to flexibility.
When looking at the components of fitness, flexibility is a key – and often overlooked – piece of the puzzle. I like to put exercise science students on the spot and say, “quick, give me the five components of fitness” and they launch into all kinds of things like plyometrics, proprioception, neuromuscular facilitation, and on and on….
So, what are the components of fitness? It’s pretty simple:
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Body composition (this one is the one that everyone forgets)
So, back to yoga….There are certainly many ways to work on flexibility but I feel like yoga is unique because while you are working on range of motion, you are also calming and quieting your mind and connecting it to your body. It’s rejuvenating and relaxing all while “working on your fitness”.
The other thing about yoga is that many people don’t consider it a “workout”. Ahhhh….have you tried it? It’s HARD! Almost all of the scientifically proven and proposed health benefits of yoga are those that have been proven or proposed about exercise in general! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. There is a great resource there with information about yoga in general. This is not a fad. Yoga has been around a very long time and it’s not going away because it works.
I also think that becoming educated about the principles and practice of yoga could present many different professional opportunities for growth. I can and have seen yoga being incorporated in many different allied health settings from personal training to cardiac rehabilitation and even used with cancer patients. As I sit here recovering from doing yoga yesterday, I have decided to set a goal to incorporate yoga into my life at least twice a week. I’m doing this not only for my own personal fitness but also as a means to explore the potential it has for me to expand my knowledge as a professional.