When you are working out, whether running, lifting weights, or taking a class, does your mind wander?? And if so, where does it go!?
This is one of my favorite things about Yoga!
In Yoga, you train your students to focus on their breathing. You do this, to help center the mind, to settle the body, emotions, thoughts, and to bring a sense of strength from within when you are holding a long pose.
As a yoga instructor, I start every class getting my students to focus in on nice long breaths. Then throughout the class I constantly, (maybe even an annoying amount), remind my students to come back to their breath. I coach them to let go of external distractions, and even the internal ones. Obviously, it's impossible to silence the thoughts, and to do so wouldn't really be helpful. But rather I encourage them to let go of stress and anxiety, to use their breathing as a focal point, when negative thoughts or emotions arise, to come back to their breath.
That is one reason, I believe YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE. When you create your own Yoga practice, and do it frequently, you train your mind to be able to handle hard situations.
As a runner, I have personally felt that my practice on the mat, holding challenging poses has built perseverance that have paid off when I'm clocking miles. Enduring an intense pose on the mat is a lot like enduring the discomfort of a long run on the road. I have learned to control my emotions and preserver on the mat, and that helps when pushing myself on towards the next mile.
This follows you into all areas of life. Whether it's in another sport, or if you struggle with anxiety, or another mental disease or problem. When you learn to control your breathing and focus your thoughts, you can endure through hard situations.
Another great example of this was shown in an article written about the Seahawks, the NFL football team, who practices Yoga weekly.
They have learned the importance of the meditative part of Yoga, the focussing your thoughts. Here is how they described it:
Then he starts guiding them: "Quiet your minds," "Focus your attention inwardly" and "Visualize success."
Your thoughts have power, and when you take the time when working out to focus your thoughts, whether on pushing through a pose, or hitting the next rep or mile, you can visualize success. Then, when your body is giving out, your positive thoughts can push you through, and you may surprise yourself on how strong you really are!
Next time you are working out, try to focus your thoughts, on being strong, on pushing through, on finding a state of peace, and exiting the stressful world you live in, and see what kind of success you can bring your workout to!