OM YOGA MAGAZINE
Yoga as a life-altering gift: From freediving to chess: how a yoga practice can enhance every aspect of your life. By Gregory Ormson
Shortly after starting yoga I realised its life enhancements could be applied to any activity of mind or body. Nobody was teaching yoga specifically for motorcyclists and as a rider and former motorcycle rider coach for the State of Hawaii, I realised I could serve bikers in a direct way.
While teaching motorcycle riding, I saw how people tightened up and held their breath when the riding range was wet, when they were evaluated, and when they were asked to do ‘figure eight’ moves in a tight space. If yoga classes could help people with stress and challenges during yoga, I thought asana poses targeted specifically to bikers’ needs could help bikers in many ways.
Yoga for bikers targets poses for: hips, back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. Preparing to teach an unusual yoga group, I searched and discovered many stories of yoga’s effects on performance in unusual places; the most unexpected were the worlds of freediving and competitive chess.
Freediving and yoga
In Hawaii, one of the first things my freediving instructor asked me was: “Do you practice yoga?” He said yoga people do better in freediving because they’ve learned how to breathe and relax when in stress.
For most people, there is nothing more stressful on both body and mind than holding their breath while swimming underwater and it’s even more true in a deep-water underwater situation. To deal with the stress of water pressure and low oxygen, free divers focus on deliberate breath training and meditation before going in the water.