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Fitness

The World’s Strongest Man Takes on Yoga. Should You?

Noodling your body into ungodly pretzel twists and shapes may not be on the top of your to-do list, and up until recently the World’s Strongest Man 2017, Eddie Hall, could relate. But since retiring from competition, Hall has shifted his focus from grueling workouts to longevity.

“Life isn’t all about being big, massive, and bulky. It’s about being comfortable, living your life day to day,” Hall said in his latest Youtube video, which showcases Hall and his wife dipping their toes in the shallow end of the yoga pool. You’ll find Hall and his wife hilariously struggling through poses requiring skill levels well beyond the likes of your average downward dog—most of which don’t say much about their collective flexibility but do make for good entertainment.

The result of said couple’s yoga routine? “It’s been hell on earth, really strenuous, we’ve argued how many times,” jokes Hall, “If you value your relationship and your marriage I say stay away from couples yoga.” Hall’s wife, Alexandra begs to differ, “just don’t do yoga with Eddie,” she laughs.

Jokes aside, the sentiment remains: flexibility is critical for moving through your daily life comfortably. Eddie knows it, and now you do too. So what else can yoga do for you? It turns out, a lot. Below we’ve collected a few reasons to detour to the yoga studio before finishing up your next gym sesh.

Why You Should Try It

Improve Flexibility

If you’re in it for the long run yoga is one of the best things you can do for longevity. Yoga has been proven to improve flexibility (1). Flexibility, in general, is critical for moving comfortably through your daily life. Flexible muscles are more supple and have a greater range of motion—meaning they can improve your functional, everyday movements like picking up a laundry basket or sitting pain-free.

Increase Strength

Flexibility won’t only improve your everyday movement, it means big gains for your workouts too. Limber muscles, like those gained from stretching and yoga, allow you to move your joints in proper sequence, loading your muscles to perform exercises more effectively. Plus, better mobility equates to a larger range of motion; and, increasing that range means you can stack up more muscle time under tension to help you build strength and volume.

Boost Athletic Performance

Thanks to recent research, we now know a long-term yoga practice doesn’t only improve your flexibility or strength, it also enhances athletic performance and efficiency (1). When put to the test, those who practiced yoga for one year showed improved aerobic capacity, endurance, and VO2 max. One study even suggests that breathing techniques taught in traditional yoga practices can be used to help reduce performance anxiety and help athletes breathe more efficiently (2). By improving breathing efficiency you can teach your body to achieve the same amount of work with less effort. Easier workouts? Yes, please.

Reduce Stress

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Report 2022, work-related stress reached an all-time high in 2021. A total of 44 percent of the worldwide workforce reported experiencing daily stress. If you’re one of the masses, yoga may just be your ticket to relief. A recent study revealed a regular dose of ‘om’ can improve mindfulness, awareness, spiritual well-being, and self-compassion (3).

Enhance Focus and Body Awareness

Struggling to focus during your workout sessions? Giving your notifications space to breathe is likely a key contributor. But, it turns out yoga might be able to increase your focus too. Many devout yogis anecdotally claim yoga can help you tune in to your body, developing your mind-body connection. A recent study quantifies their claims, suggesting yoga improves focus which is thought to help increase body awareness in athletes (2). Even off the field, a foundational relationship with your body and mind is something you can call on time and time again to elevate your daily potential.

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