Yoga’s a Great Cross-Training Tool


Sue Bargeloh has witnessed first-hand the benefits a Yoga practice has on other sports. An avid equestrian, Sue, who weekly attends several different kinds of Yoga classes at YAM, has noticed huge improvements in her horseback riding.

“If I lose my strength and my flexibility, I will not be able to ride,” says Sue, a 59-year-old outdoors enthusiast.  “Really riding, you see, is a marvelous feat of becoming a true partner in moving with the horse.

“If I don’t have the strength and flexibility to control my body and balance my movement, I lose the communication and teamwork I’ve built with my horse,” says Sue. “The extra bonus provided by yoga is the clarity and focus to become Zen while riding … that’s why a part of my riding practice is my yoga practice, and always will be.”

No doubt about it: Yoga can be used as a cross-training tool for all kinds of sports, whether it be horseback riding, tennis, running, mountain biking or skiing. It provides physical exercise, breath control, flexibility – and mental focus. And many athletes find Yoga helps with rehabilitating the body after an injury. Including Yoga into athletic training also may help athletes lessen their risk of injury. Yoga relieves muscle tension and loosens joints, hips, hamstrings and shoulders.

Another YAM client, Austin Rhett Hoy, 19, plays college football. He started his yoga practice just a few weeks ago because he needed to be more flexible in his legs and hips for the football position he plays –  long snapper.

“I’ve had double shoulder surgery and have injured both knees and my ankle,” says Rhett. “I can already tell that Yoga has helped in making them stronger than just the regular rehab I have always done.”

He says he feels much more in touch with his body now.

“One of the most crucial things that I have had to teach myself has been to listen to my body, to know when I need to stop and re-collect myself,“ Rhett says. “As an athlete, I have always been taught to push through any obstacle you may face in a workout, but that is not the case in yoga. Do what you can do, and leave your ego at the door.”

Sue was a bit apprehensive about resuming her yoga practice after a three-year hiatus, but she is determined to get back into shape. She never attended a hot yoga class before coming to YAM, but says she’s hooked now.

“None of the classes at YAM have been disappointing,” says Sue, who moved with her husband to Hendersonville about a year ago from Los Alamos, New Mexico. “The therapeutic and restorative classes, the hot dynamic flows, the free flow Vinyasa classes all have provided me with postures and movements to build strength and increase mobility.

“I frequently feel frustrated when I have trouble doing a pose or movement, especially when I remember that just three years ago I could do almost everything. But despite the fact that I will be turning 60 in a few months, I can feel my strength and flexibility returning.”