Why Do Athletes Need Yoga?
Incorporating yoga in to your current athletic programming is an excellent performance and mobility enhancer. The practice of yoga has evolved over thousands of years. Yoga utilizes postures or asanas designed to work through the entire body leading to meditation and relaxation. These asanas dive deep into the layers of the physical body, bringing mind and body into balance.
Through the physical form of yoga an athlete can benefit from mobility, flexibility, balance, strength and agility. These physical aspects can that can aid in athletic performance, reduce the risk of injury, and aid in rehabilitation. Athletes with physical imbalances, injuries, and weaknesses can use yoga as a tool to rebalance and strengthen muscles, joints and ligaments. Properly strengthening and lengthening the musculature of the body improves alignment, posture, and expose overuse injuries such as iliotibial band syndrome, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, groin or hamstring sprains and more.
The mind/body aspect of a yoga creates a mental practice that integrates a connection to all dimensions. Using breath techniques, visualization, relaxation, mediation, and introspection. Diving into the connection between the mind and body allows one to be present, reflect, and adapt. This experience may come as complete shift in the way an athlete approaches his/or her sport and mental focus and psychological wellbeing.
There are many different styles of yoga practiced today including: Anusara, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, Iyengar, Bikram, and many more. Breaking Muscle recommends the Vinyasa Flow style of yoga for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, linking powerful and dynamic movements with breath. While focusing on alignment this style of yoga is complementary to all athletic and sports adaptations. Vinyasa flow emphasizes flexibility, strength, and stamina while calming the body with breath through a flow of postures.
For more information check out Breaking Muscle's Awake and Evolve yoga programming.