Well, this blog is about life in Silicon Valley, and one thing you’ll find here is plenty of non-traditional sports activities like yoga. Over the last few years, I have evolved from being yoga-ignorant to a yoga dabbler and now a true yogi. Here’s what I wish I had known about yoga decades earlier.
- Yoga makes you really strong.
I always thought of yoga as a bunch of people sitting in a dark room saying, “ommmmm.” Yep, you do that once in a while. But you spend a lot of time building power in your core muscles. I’m almost as strong as I ever have been before, or at least since I quit gymnastics some time during the Ronald Reagan presidency. And this strength has helped me with many other activities (like lifting kids up off a ski slope or lugging stuff out of Costco).
- Yoga takes an approach to movement that works for lots of different sports.
Drishti, or focused gaze, controls balance and channels how you use your muscles. My skiing and even my swimming have gotten better with it. And even my work benefits from yoga’s practice of how to avoid distractions.
- Yoga reminds you to focus on one little thing at a time.
Many yoga classes ask you set an intention for the class. Your intention could be on a physical aspect of your practice or just something that you wish to concentrate on more. By setting an intention, I can really see the progress I’m making in that particular area. I used to do this in my dance classes as well. I need to learn how to do it in other parts of my life!
- Yoga doesn’t treat pain as a cost of playing.
I have reached the point in my life where I’m paying for my past sports with “no pain, no gain” mantras. In yoga, have made a lot of progress by focusing on what’s realistic for me and not on pushing it at any cost. Strangely, I never really thought of progress being so easy! And with its emphasis on the individual, it doesn’t matter if the person next to you is more flexible or more seasoned: Yoga helps you turn your attention inward to your own body.
- Yoga provides a reboot for the brain.
Yoga isn’t the only sport that I do that can rid me of the endless distractions of being a high tech marketer and mom. But it is a very effective one. It’s amazing how an hour can fly by without me noticing and how just a couple of minutes in Savasana (corpse pose) makes me feel as fresh as if I had a one-hour nap! In fact, I have learned that you can take a few minutes of meditation in the carpool line or while stuck in traffic on 101… (Shhh! It is not texting and driving.)
If you haven’t tried yoga before, there’s no time like the present to start practicing. Most of us were not fortunate enough to find it first, but the good news is that a yoga practice can stay in your life for a long, long time.