Yoga and Functional Fitness
Utkatasana – Awkward Pose
I often blog about yoga and spirituality or the life lessons we can learn from the practice of yoga. That is probably because this is where yoga speaks deeply to me. However, yoga also has very practical physical benefits that enhance the quality of everyday life. Functional fitness is the in vogue term in the fitness community. Functional fitness focuses on training and developing your muscles in order to make it easier to perform everyday activities like: climbing stairs, getting up and down from a seated position, tying your shoes, picking something up from the ground, or reaching for a bag in the back seat of the car from the front seat.
For many years lifting weights was popular in the fitness community. Lifting weights certainly makes isolated muscles independently very strong, but it does not teach those muscles to work together with other muscles. Functional fitness focuses on integrating muscles to work together by imitating movements you commonly do at home, work, or in your free time. Functional fitness focuses on controlling your own body weight, jointly using upper and lower body muscles, and emphasizes core stability.
Although the physical practice of yoga dates back 3000 years, it fits squarely into the realm of modern day functional fitness. The wisdom of this ancient practice promotes the same practical values of overall health and quality of life that is currently the focus of the fitness community. For example, consider Utkatasana, or chair pose, which translates from Sanskrit as awkward pose. It does, in fact, feel awkward to perform this pose, probably because you are nearly seated without a chair! The muscles used in Utkatasana, the hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus, rectus abdominus, erector spinea, deltoid, and triceps muscles, just to name a few, are the exact same muscles used to sit down and get up from a chair or pick something up off the ground. In fact, Utkatasana mirrors the exact same movements, thus preparing the body precisely to perform these activities in everyday life easily and safely. So come join us for some yoga. Not only might you find inner peace, you will find it easier to perform everyday activities and thus enhance your quality of life.