Top 10 Reasons Why All Athletes Should Practice Yoga / 10 Amazing Benefits of Yoga for Sports Performance
Sports by nature are multi-dimensional, and therefore to exceed in our sport we often need to take part in other activities. Yoga is rapidly becoming the go-to activity for many athletes. Nowadays we are all familiar with yoga: from friends, family, magazines, it is an accepted part of our everyday culture. In spite of that, many people still believe that it is merely more than stretching. In fact, it is a lot more than that, and elite athletes are now touting it as an irreplaceable part of their training regimen.
Yoga can help us develop strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance, core, and overall strength, amongst other things. Practised correctly, it can, in fact, improve almost every element of your performance.
Learn how yoga can benefit your mind and body for game day:
Strength: Rather than focusing on moving weights, yoga helps to develop pure strength by working with our own bodyweight. No weightlifting routine will give us the same strength threshold that consistently holding up our own bodyweight can provide.
Flexibility: Yoga practice can help to increase our flexibility and ease of movement, which in turn improves our overall range of motion. Improved flexibility and range of motion will help to relieve muscle tension and can serve to prevent injuries. Whether you are a runner or a surfer, improved range of motion can lead to great improvements in performance.
Balance: Yoga helps us to develop greater body awareness, including balance, stability and proprioception. Consequently, not only is our performance enhanced, but our movements become much more efficient.
Endurance: Yoga can play an instrumental role in teaching us how to pace ourselves: slow and steady. The meditative properties allow us to relax the body and mind; this can help most sports as tense muscles tend not to react as quickly.
Core: Almost every posture in yoga improves core strength. A strong core equates to a healthy back and a healthy body.
Stability: Yoga helps to build up the little stabilizing muscles that are often missed in other physical workouts and are fundamental for the protection of our joints and spine.
Recovery: It is a brilliant tool for both passive and active recovery. It can alleviate both physical and mental stress, help to relieve tension and give your body a rest from the demands of your sport. Additionally, a consistent practice can help to boost your circulation and lymphatic flow, which in turn helps to speed up healing time and allows for faster recovery.
Injury Prevention Yoga radically reduces our risk of injury by improving both body mechanics and awareness.
Breathing Work Yoga teaches us that our breath can be regulated and controlled for various health and spiritual benefits. This is essential practice for many sports, it also allows for a sharper focusing of the mind which can be enormously helpful in high-stress situations.
Cross Training It is a fantastic, low-impact way to cross train. Cross training is essential for athletes who practice the same sport or exercise routine continuously. The addition of new movements can help decrease the risk of injury, alleviate training monotony, add variety and help recover from heavy workouts.
There are many forms of yoga, ranging from low intensity to high intensity and hundreds of postures that can be adapted to deliver a workout for athletes of any sport. Practising yoga during a sports-related injury (and depending on what it is) can allow us to continue moving, stay mobile and flexible (and to keep sane of course!). Once recovery has passed you will see the benefits of how yoga had directly improved your performance. Balance, core strength, body awareness, breathing techniques, ability to stay calm and focused will all improve enormously. For athletes of all levels, yoga can be an instrumental part of training and the benefits are far-reaching.
Comment below and let us know if you include yoga as a part of your cross training!