3 Ways Gamers Can Reap The Benefits Of Yoga

It can stretch both your mind and body.

Kirsten Curtis |

Esports is no longer just the domain of a select few. While South Africa’s esports and gaming industry is still small in comparison to other countries, the industry is on the rise. In 2018, esports athletes earned R3.78 million, a 6.8 % increase from the previous.

Over the years, several tournaments have popped up in the country including Telkom Vs Gaming, Mettlestate, EGE and rAge Expo. Teams across the country converge to take home cash prizes.

Related: Now That Sport Is Cancelled, These Are The Esports You Should Start Watching Instead

As the tournaments becomes more competitive, one team, has started investing in its players mental and physical health. Goliath Gaming, a multi-gaming organisation, founded in 2017, started sending their players to keep them in shape.

The bootcamp includes four yoga sessions that players are expected to attend. The sessions are run by Brendon Hill, who started practising yoga in his early twenties. “The players didn’t take it too seriously at first. They would come in laughing,” he explains. “But I could see the change in them class by class. They would leave more quietly than when they came. After awhile they started banishing the preconceived idea they had that yoga is just for soccer moms.”

Related: Try This Pro Gamer’s Workout While You’re Self-Isolating

The Benefits Of Yoga

“I think everyone can benefit from yoga in some degree,” says Brendon. “Not everyone will dive in all the way, but even short sessions can be beneficial.” The yoga instructor explains how stretching can be beneficial to both your body and your mind. Here he breaks down exactly how gamers can benefit from the practice.

1. Physical Benefits:

There’s nothing worse than being seconds away from scoring the winning goal on FIFA when a back spasm causes you to lose focus and the game. “Sitting for long periods of time can be damaging to your body,” says Brendon. “Gamers spend long periods of time just sitting. Stretching can help strengthen your muscles, especially your spine,” he explains.

Meanwhile studies have shown that doing yoga can offer immediate relief from pains associated with sitting all day and over time can reverse these negative effects.

Related: Sitting For Too Long Can Damage Your Brain, Seriously

2. Mental Benefits

Mindfulness is one of the biggest benefits of yoga. It’s not just beneficial for the average joe, but it can come in handy when your team is competing in a tournament. “Being able to catch yourself in an emotional state and being present can help your team,” says Brendon. “[In tournaments] emotions are high and there’s a lot of energy. If there’s one mature player on the team that can say ‘okay guys let’s calm down,’ they can steer the team to a better emotional state, which will help the team strategise better.”

3. Spiritual Benefits

While not everyone believes in spirituality, yoga can help you find purpose, Brendon says. “The spiritual aspect is a personal thing, it’s a case of why you believe you’re alive,” he explains.  “But I think everyone needs some meaning in their life and yoga at least is a vehicle for that, even if you don’t take the theological aspect seriously.”

How Often You Should Practice

Brendon believes that yoga should be a daily practice. “Our bodies are a reflection of our habits, so we don’t have anything in life that’s a one take fix,” he explains. “What we do is what we are. You don’t need to do a lot a day. Just 20 minutes (that includes stretches on your lower and upper back) is more than enough to keep you healthy. Obviously there’s more to that, there’s a hierarchy, if you want to be doing handstands and complicated poses, you have to practice a lot longer than that.”

Related: Relieve Stress During Lockdown With This 60-Minute At-Home Yoga Class

Now that we’re all self-isolating, it’s not just gamers who spend all their free time sitting. Whether you’ve turned into an amateur gamer or pro binge-watcher, we’re all sitting more than ever (what else is there to do, right?). But we’re not here to tell you to put down the controller, or stop that binge. Instead add this yoga routine, designed by Brendon, to your daily schedule, to counteract the effects of being sedentary all day.

Want to reap more of the benefits yoga provides? Join Brendon’s weekly yoga class on Zoom. The class takes place at 5pm on Friday’s. You can contact him at brendon.ichimonji@gmail.com to find out more about the classes.

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