In Yoga Journal last month, there was an article about three Olympic athletes are use yoga as a serious component of their training: Chandra Crawford (cross-country skier), Emily Brydon (alpine skier), and Shannon Deanne Bahrke (freestyle skier). As someone who is considering how to build a love of yoga into a career, this is another reminder that there are so many ways this can play out.
All of these women talk about the great awareness that yoga brings to anyone dedicated to a regular practice. They’ve found that different types of yoga work for them at different times in their training cycle. Restorative when they feel worn out. Ashtanga as part of injury recovery. Pranayama (breathwork) just before a big competition when focus is crucial. Yoga’s versatility to respond to life’s challenges and triumphs make it an ideal training component.
Yoga is a level setter. If we feel stressed, it calms us down. If we feel scattered, it brings us focus. If we are tired, it energizes us. If we are wound up, it will relax our mind and body. It is the universal ying to our yang, whatever our yang may be. And with that characteristic, we discover one of its greatest teachings: we must be flexible, we must go with whatever the universe throws out way, our strength and endurance know no boundaries. Ideas that all of us, Olympic athletes included, must keep in mind as we move through our lives. Let the games begin!