I have always been a true fan of fitness. I enjoy every aspect of lifestyle I have chosen from traditional weight training to unconventional training to yoga. I know this goes against many people’s perspective about serving two masters, but they're all one in the same. One can see the light in any discipline. The fastest way to find the true self and discover mindfulness is to fire up the dopamine receptors and make the body and mind separate.
While Yogis talk about meditation and serenity, weight lifters talk about therapy and peace from the outside world. These are actually very similar concepts. Everyone has their happy place. That one place that they go to unwind, disappear and fix the damage done by interacting with society. It is always ideal to start off a yoga session with a brief meditation to release the negative energy and bring one's focus to the task at hand. This is usually followed by a breathing exercise known as pranayama. The sole focus is on the breath. During this time the only concept that matters in this world is breathe in, hold, breathe out. Everything else fades away. This leads the way into a smooth transitional exercise routine. Throughout each pose, or asana, the focus is on elongating and relaxing the muscles through the slow exhale. The pose duration can be timed by a set number of breathe cycles instead of staring at a clock.
On the other side of the coin we have the meatheads. These guys kick off their worldly escape with a swig of water and a hefty scoop of their favorite pre workout. While waiting for that to jump start the blood flow they scroll through the iPod and find their Destruction Mix. Once the earbuds go in and bass drops, the world fades away. The only truth they need is stamped on the plates. In the words of Henry Rollins, “........Friends may come and go, but two hundred pounds is always two pounds.” Once the training begins the focus is zeroed into the body. The lifter's concentration is on the squeeze of every muscle fiber to increase tension and promote growth. Breathing techniques are not used for purpose of duration, but play a major role in the production of force. The “Power Breath” increases internal pressure to stabilize the body and force blood into the muscles. This is performed by inhaling during the unloading phase of the lift and forcibly exhaling during the loaded phase.
Another shared aspect is the techniques that are essential to their respective disciplines. Yogis understand their asanas. Each limb of the body must be in the correct posture for the intended effect to take place. True Yogis have no problem finding this spot with ease and accuracy. They can also see the difference between the ones who know what they're doing and those who only think they do. The same rings true for the lifters. But they're not as nice about it. They might even have a quick chuckle at the noob's expense before going back to work. This is why it is a good idea to find a trainer. Everyone knows that weight training can be dangerous without proper technique and an understanding of how the movement is preformed. Yoga is relatively safe even if you do not understand the poses, but you will not get the full benefits without the in depth knowledge known only to the Yogis.
Every aspect of fitness is connected in some way, shape, or form. Although they are not for everyone, don't shy away from trying new things. Step out of your comfort zone. I was an avid lifter for years before stepping into a yoga studio and it kicked my ass. It was great! I still practice yoga occasionally and feel great after every session.
ACSM Certified Fitness Professional