When you have athletes such as Tom Brady and Lebron James (among hundreds of others) partaking in yoga, maybe it's worth a further review. Check out how yoga for athletes can help anyone improve their health and conditioning!
How yoga can help you
Yoga is one of the best practices to rejuvenate one’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being altogether.
It has been around since the ages and is said to be one of the healthiest fitness routines we can engage in.
The word ‘yoga’, is a Sanskrit word that means joining together, or uniting and points at uniting the body, spirit and mind.
According to a study conducted in 2013, yoga has shown commendable improvements in patients with schizophrenia, depression, even dementia and a number of other mental illnesses. It is also recommended to people who are going through conditions such as withdrawal symptoms, sleep disorders and migraine among several others.
Yoga is fast gaining traction in the west with people from all walks of life including celebrities, politicians and athletes practicing it to attain internal peace and strength.
Yoga for Athletes?
However, it is said that athletes are more likely to reap the many benefits of yoga since their body is actively involved in action and their mind is screaming for some rest.
Sportsmen are mostly engaged in activities that require the utmost mental focus and physical strength which put a lot of strain on the body and the mind.
Therefore, they need to de-stress and normalize the strained muscles. And this is where yoga comes in. It relaxes the muscles and makes you feel refreshed and energetic, so that the next time you hit the ground, you can give it your absolute best.
How Is Yoga for Athletes Different from Other Exercises?
When you are an athlete, you just cannot skip out on exercises that fortify your body and boost your immunity. However, many sportsmen do not realize the importance of yoga even though it is better than regular exercises.
In fact, the fundamental difference between yoga and other exercises is that while other exercises help tone up the body, yoga goes beyond and focuses on soothing the body and mind together. You can practice yoga according to your convenience and if you are not comfortable with a specific pose just skip it and try something that you can do without putting in too much effort. This is something which is not common in other exercises.
Choose Your Yoga Poses According To Your Sport
Yoga gives you the liberty to choose your poses on the basis of the sport you play. For example, if you play basketball or tennis, you may want to loosen up and heal the muscles located in your shoulders. Similarly, a runner will emphasize more on poses that involve relaxing hip muscles such as the pigeon pose. Though it may seem difficult to loosen the taut muscles initially, it will become easier with the passage of time.
Benefits of Yoga for Athletes
Yoga is perfect for anyone who wants to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it repair your worn out muscles, it also de-stresses your mind after a tiring day, hence, preparing you for another tough and demanding day on the court. Though there are many benefits of practicing yoga, but some of my personal favorites are:
Sports yoga makes it easier for the body muscles to move easily, making them flexible enough for a wide range of activities from triathlon to soccer. This is especially important for athletes practicing swinging actions in sports such as golf, tennis, volleyball, and badminton.
2. Develop Core Strength
There are muscles that run all the way from our feet to the inner thighs to front side of the hips and moves towards the head while covering the organs that come along the spinal cord. What many sportsmen are not aware of is that the muscles present in these areas are very weak and need to be strengthened on a regular basis.
Strong deep core muscles mean a strong back with a balanced and stable posture while playing which is one of the best benefits of practicing yoga.
Yoga has amazing healing powers that can help athletes get up faster after an injury. It tones up the muscles, elongates them and repairs the ones that are damaged. All this results in a healthy and strong body that is less likely to get injured and in case it does get affected, yoga will help speed up the recovery process.
The physical strength that comes from putting together your whole body, mind and spirit is incomparable to any other exercise. No amount of exercise or weightlifting can make your body as strong as yoga can.
Yoga teaches you balance. This prevents any injuries or falls due to a lack of imbalance while playing sports. There are some remarkable poses in that show you how to be resilient and flexible, without losing control or breaking your bones.
Yoga is believed to stabilize athletes’ muscles that may otherwise be neglected in other exercises. These are the same muscles that protect your vital body organs, spinal cord and joints.
Effective Yoga for Athletes: Poses
Though the poses of yoga vary greatly depending on the sports you are involved in, below is a brief insight on the poses you should do if you want to strengthen a certain body part:
- Down Dogs - Perfect for athletes associated with sports that require strong legs such as running. Down Dogs is best for firm calves, shoulders and hamstring.
- Devotional Warrior - Strengthens legs, opens hips and is great for shoulders.
- Wheel - Works well for strengthening arm and opening shoulders, back and hips.
- Eagle - Opens hips and shoulders and enhances stability and balance.
To sum it all up, yoga has amazing powers that not only fortifies your body, but it also revitalizes your mind.
Famous athletes such as Lebron James, Ray Lewis, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are already doing yoga to ace their games.
You should get registered with a reputed yoga program too. If you’re new to yoga and don’t know where to get started, give yourself the treat of going on a yoga retreat and you will come back wanting more!