I have had chronic shoulder pain due to playing football for almost 15 years. Also, I work in an early-stage digital health business, anxiety and stress are basically given with that relationship.
Having increased stress and a sore body all the time is not a good mix. For me, going to the gym and trying to maintain a good healthy life was fine. However, I began to feel that stress was becoming more difficult to eliminate and I was hitting plateaus at the gym.
Something needed to change, I was bored with my typical fitness routine.
When I was told that I needed to start doing yoga I basically laughed and said: “I’m a man, I don’t do yoga”. Like many people, I had reservations, but they were not undefeatable obstacles. I thought yoga was an excuse for ladies to hang out and gossip while doing some stretches. Having an athletic background, I basically thought the classes would be a joke and not even difficult.
The day that I tried my first yoga class I was overwhelmed by how much respect these yogi’s deserved.
The simplest of poses required adequate breathing and using tiny stability muscles to stay in the pose for longer durations. Yoga brought to me a realization that no other workout has. The amount of mindfulness and deep breathing that is required to hold your body in the correct positions was so unexpected. It was like that hour class I was in allowed me to completely forget about everything else. Allowing my ego to become humbled, I fell in love with the feeling of completing a yoga class.
You will feel like you're weightless.
Ego Check at the door
Often our ego gets in the way or clouds our judgments in stressful situations. When you are attending a yoga class you must check your ego at the door. If you go in there thinking you will master each pose and can maintain the positions, then you will probably be let down.
I remember when I first went in there I thought I would be able to keep up, I was wrong, and I was let down. However, that was just my ego. The next class I attended I promised myself that I would try my best and instead of forcing the advanced positions I would only do what I could. What I found was that by doing this I opened a whole new realm of focus. Instead of trying to be the best in the room, I wanted to be the best version of myself.
While working for a start-up it is hard not to let your ego get the best of you. By attending yoga classes I have learned that my ego often distorts my reality when making certain decisions.
While a reserved amount of ego is necessary in the business world, being able to identify when it is taking over your decisions is completely necessary.
Yoga will help with your flexibility and deal with uncomfortable situations. It will make your joints and muscles feel refreshed throughout your day. I have also noticed that my core gym lifts are becoming better, my range of motion is much more consistent and I can finally get in a deep squat!
Flexibility goes further than just the body. By putting your body in these situations, you must also work on strengthening your mind and busting through your comfort zone.
Whether it’s being able to adapt quickly to different meeting times, or being able to get out of your desk chair easier. Flexibility really goes a long way.
Stress Relief/Controlled Breathing
After a long day of work, you may not have the motivation to go to the gym by yourself and workout. Going to a yoga class allows you to put yourself in a group with other people who are trying to accomplish the same thing. They want to release some stress and get a good sweat going. Yoga will take you through controlled deep breathing that can help release some of that anxiety and cleanse the mind of whatever happened during the day.
Long days, release anxiety, cleanse, and calm the mind.
The Meditation or mindfulness aspect is what made me fall in love with yoga. Being able to live in the present moment for one hour is a beautiful change from the everyday rush of the business life. We often forget that deep breathing and letting go of external forces really grounds us and allows us to see life from different perspectives, which in turn allows us to be more creative. Instead of forcing situations we can begin to let them happen organically.
Intentions and Realized Goals
At the beginning of each yoga practice, the instructor will ask you to set an intention. It can be anything that you hope to accomplish by the end of class. I have found this very rewarding to set an intention at the beginning of class and accomplishing it by the end of class. If you didn’t accomplish a single thing today you could go to class knowing that you have another chance. I often find myself setting an intention for peace, to be at peace with where am I, who I am, and what I am. It allows me to be grateful for what God has given me.
What matters most to you, what would you like to build, create, or nurture in your life, what would you like to let go of, who would you like to forgive in your life?
Today, focus on gratitude and mindfulness. Be willing to embrace change and open yourself up to new beginnings. You never know when a new experience can change your life.
Co-Founder and CCO at KingFit