There is no gender, age, body type, or ability required to start doing yoga. From casual practitioners to serious fitness enthusiasts, everybody can benefit from enjoying this practice a few times a week.
That said, the ancient Hindu practice is now a worldwide sensation. Much of that has to do with the growing interest in overall wellness. Many people, especially young people, recognize how yoga adds to their quality of life. In fact, Maryville University’s projection for exercise science students highlights the increasing importance of fitness and athleticism, particularly among millennials in the US. Around 17.2 million of them belong to a health club and try different exercise trends, like yoga.
To say that yoga is a rewarding practice for all kinds of people is an understatement. Even the sports industry has taken notice of its undeniable benefits to physical and mental wellness. Thus, athletes of all levels — and across different sports — are starting to incorporate yoga, or borrowing from its concepts, into their training program.
If you’re curious to learn more, these are four ways yoga can improve athletic performance:
• Increased mobility
Much of the training regimen of athletes involves sport-specific drills and strength and conditioning exercises. While that’s critical for building endurance and power, athletes also need to improve flexibility and mobility.
In short, they need to incorporate stretches to lengthen their overly tight muscles. NFL trainer James Collins adds that yoga also helps increase movement around joints, particularly in key areas such as the elbows, wrists, ankles, hips, and shoulders. Overall, this adds to better mobility, which for athletes means executing complicated movements with relative ease. For example, a soccer player with high hip mobility can generate a more powerful kick. In fact, in many cases, poor athletic performance isn’t due to a lack of strength but rather, poor mobility — further highlighting the importance of adding flexibility training into the mix.
• Efficient injury prevention and recovery
In a recent article, ex-athlete Mollie Wilson recounted her experience with injury and how yoga helped her bounce back from it. Athletes put a tremendous amount of stress on their bodies, and so injury becomes an occupational hazard.
Practicing gentler forms of yoga can be therapeutic for injuries or pain. Yoga can also help minimize the risk of getting injured in the first place through a number of ways. First, a more vigorous practice like Vinyasa or Ashtanga can build musculoskeletal strength. More pliable muscles and mobile joints also adapt to shock more efficiently. More importantly, yoga reveals muscular imbalances, which can be addressed through consistent practice.
• Enhanced balance
Training balance is also a must for athletes. A study by Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education researchers underscores the importance of proprioception for athletes, or the awareness of one’s body position. Knowing where your body is in space is key to better movement and injury prevention.
Fortunately, balance is definitely a target area in yoga. Athletes will learn how to stand on one leg, which they can later on apply in their discipline. For example, a baseball player can improve their pitching technique and power through single leg balancing poses like Tree or Warrior III.
• Improved focus
When talking about yoga, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just a form of exercise. It’s a form of meditation too, which everyone, not just athletes, can benefit from. Through breath control, one can eliminate stress and enhance their focus. For athletes, the University of South Wales' David Shearer writes on The Conversation that yoga can maximize performance by preventing them from choking under pressure.
All in all, yoga is a great all-around practice for athletes. Whether you’re just looking to find an efficient stretching routine or wanting to target a specific skill, it’s very much worth incorporating yoga into your routine.
Post intended only for the use of theyogashala.org
Post by: JBoggs