Two days ago, the world participated in International Yoga Day, the first ever United Nations-sponsored day celebrating the positive contribution yoga makes in the lives of those who choose to practice it. Around 14 years ago, a practitioner of martial arts and yoga founded a new art called Budokon, combining poses, meditation, and martial arts to form a graceful, fluid, yet highly challenging new martial art. Airports around the world are providing spaces, sometimes just an alcove, but sometimes a whole studio, for travelers to find a little balance and peace in one of the most stressful environments modern travelers must frequent. And many elementary school-aged students can tell you what “downward facing dog” is.
Why are yoga studios, principles, and jargon popping up in unexpected, even incongruous places? Perhaps it’s because the benefits of yoga are finally beginning to sink in. Eastern culture has known it for centuries, but the West has looked askance at hippie-granola-Birkenstock-yoga types for far too long, and with an unfortunate stereotype. The truth is that the free spirits among us were always more open to embracing The New, even if it was culturally foreign. But what many more of us have grown to understand is that while yoga as an isolated practice is phenomenal for increasing health and well-being, yoga as a complementary activity can increase the benefits of other fitness routines, reduce stress in many different environments, and provide a genuine sense of oneness with others and Nature.
Whether you’re looking to increase strength, balance, and focus in your martial arts practice or fitness routine, or just wanting to finally take the leap and try a yoga class at the gym to see what all the cult-like fuss is about, you can’t go wrong by incorporating yoga into your routine. The physical and mental discipline offered by a yoga practice can make a difference in your life, regardless of your other activities, but you can expect a boost in performance and productivity in fitness, wellness, and even job performance with the Yoga Complement.