Whether physically or mentally, doing yoga can make you and your family members strong and healthy. When my mother first began yoga I was doing sports such as football and soccer. I gradually increased in these sports as my mother taught me how to do yoga. Later I found out this was because yoga can help you in many ways. When I was first starting football I was quite clumsy and my mom would say not very coordinated. After doing yoga my flexibility and coordination increased. Your flexibility can increase in yoga because whether a pose is done standing, sitting, or lying down, each one challenges various muscle groups while helping to become aware of your body and how it functions. Coordination also improves as you learn to focus on a pose as you would focus on kicking a goal. Yoga can also boost self-esteem and confidence so your focus remains on the game and you don’t let your team down just because the other team scored a goal. Yoga also strengthens the mind-body connection so that you are more aware of your surroundings. So when you’re jumping for that ball, you are able to do it with more coordination. From my experience, all of these benefits have come from through my yoga practice.
Doing yoga helps strengthen your joints and muscles and sometimes can even be more of a workout than going to a gym. I have become stronger by doing yoga and much better at sports now that I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Literally, they have no mind-body connections. Like when I first started to play soccer, I would always fall down or trip over the ball (and every time it really hurt). Or when I first started to play football, I would scramble and just run around. Don’t get me started on baseball; trust me it just wasn’t pretty. But with yoga I managed to kick that ball into the goal, and catch that ball and make a touchdown (from opposing 10-yard line!!…ok, my Mom just typed that…yes, I’m proud of how far he has come).
Practicing yoga in your everyday life can help your body a great deal. Everybody who I have seen practicing yoga improves their mind and body. Practicing yoga also reduces stress so that your mind can be clear. One of the best yoga practices for clearing your mind is the crazy monkey bitten by a scorpion example. To do this exercise you must find a quiet place to sit. Then act like you are a crazy monkey! Then settle down. Then act like you’re a crazy monkey bitten by a scorpion! Then settle down and relax. Meditation is always a good way to clear your mind.
One of my family’s favorite yoga exercise that helps your body and mood is a game called Pass-A-Laugh.
This game starts by somebody laughing and the person next to them has to repeat that laugh. But then they also have to create a new laugh for the person next to them to repeat. Then the next person repeats it and so on! This game is designed to relieve tension (and always shakes my Dad’s grumpy “home from work” mood). Another fun exercise is a game called Zip-Zap-Zop. This game challenges you to have complete focus. The game starts by somebody saying, “zip” while pointing to another person. Then that person has to zap another person (by pointing at the person and saying, “zap”) and then that person has to “zop” somebody. This process repeats as the game continues, but you must increase the speed of how fast you zip, zap, or zop. I truly believe that YOGA makes me STRONG! J