- Kim Whitman
3 Ways Yoga Will Make You A Better Athlete
“It’s like becoming a ninja.” This is what I tell my friends who are athletes teetering on whether to start a yoga practice. You may not be lifting huge weights or pushing the cardio limits, but contorting yourself in ways that build muscle groups you didn’t even know you had is a pretty sneaky way to work out. Over time, muscles that have tightened from repeated use in your primary sport begin to release. Others you’ve neglected begin to grow. Add in breath awareness and, before you know it, your newfound focus and control has you performing beyond your previous highest potential.
Still not convinced? Here are 3 benefits to yoga that will have you Namastéing in no time:
1. Gain strength and flexibility that will keep you injury-free.
Yoga is well known to strengthen muscle groups, improve balance and flexibility – all keys to injury prevention in sports. It also tones and stabilizes your core body, which generates more power in every athletic endeavor.
2. Beyond the physical effects, there are so many mental benefits to the practice.
Mental concentration and emotional strength are essential components to any successful race or training session. Yoga is considered a moving meditation. It not only helps sharpen your focus as an athlete, but also bolsters your ability to endure discomfort. Yoga brings you into the mental ninja zone and helps you stay there longer.
3. Yoga promotes recovery and relaxation.
Yoga is the practice of linking breath with movement. The focus on methodical breathing will send surges of oxygenated blood through your tissues, clearing toxins as you move and speeding up muscle recovery. Yoga promotes relaxation in the mind, body and spirit. To succeed in your sport you must strive for balance in all three areas. Work hard, train efficiently, but then always find time to relax and let the work seep into your body.
Ready to experience the benefits of yoga for athletes? Up your performance with these power classes for athletes of all levels.
Poses for Athletes:
Downward Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana: This posture is a gentle inversion, which will promote relaxation while also relieving pressure on the spine and stretching the armpits, legs and chest.
Hero Pose, Virasana: Virasana is an excellent way to open up the knees, thighs and feet.
High Lunge: High Lunge is a fantastic pose for athletes as it builds strength and stability in the pelvis and legs while also challenging the core body and balance. The posture also stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors.