Breathe In. Breathe Out. (Good. You Just Started.)

The Change That Does You Good


TWENTY-THREE: percentage of yoga participants who are men. This includes Oakland A's pitcher Barry Zito, Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George, and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett.

Fortunately, there's already a world of destinations in place to help you learn how to become a Whole Athlete. We're talking about spas. Whether you call them wellness spas or adventure retreats, there's no better place to refocus your approach to health and fitness in one shot. Not only women but men—who originally may have shown up in the name of relationship harmony—are discovering holistic-fitness programs such as yoga, meditation, and strength conditioning geared specifically for an active lifestyle.

Sports stars like snowboarders Ross Powers and Barrett Christy relish the recuperative break from the wear and tear of competition that a spa delivers, and they apply a holistic approach to their training because they know this stuff works. "I'll fit in a massage for my muscles, a Pilates class to build strength, and yoga to maintain my flexibility," says Christy. "Off the snow, it's about balancing out my body's shortcomings."

Studies have shown that in only eight weeks, meditation can start to shift activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex from the fight-or-flight right hemisphere to the more accepting left hemisphere (which comes in handy whether you're feeling pressure from the boss or from a precarious rock overhang). Cardiac patients have found that yoga lowers their cholesterol and blood-pressure levels and can increase their cardiovascular circulation. Deep-breathing techniques help keep the blood oxygenated and the muscles relaxed during key moments of athletic activity—whether banging a tennis ball with a loud grunt or pedaling a bike up a steep hill.

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