Yoga for Sports

Despite what you may think yoga isn’t just for women. Plenty of major sports teams and athletes work this ancient stretching and strength discipline into their pre and off season workouts. Many athletes suffer from various conditions which can interfere with their game. These range from backache to tight hamstrings, asthma to neck tension, nerves and fear.

Sports people undergo rigorous training regimes that include strength and core training, along with skills development. Often times, however, stretching and taking care of one’s body is neglected over performance. This is where yoga comes in. 

Yoga uses a mixture of dynamic active exercises (such as sun salutes), dynamic static exercises (holding poses with active muscle work) and static passive stretches (classic held yoga poses) to increase general and core strength and flexibility. To avoid injury, every athlete requires a “flexibility reserve” so that their maximum range of motion somewhat exceeds the range required by their particular sport. Where the flexibility reserve is minimal or in deficit this leads to a heightened risk of injury – yoga can help to rapidly accelerate the process of increasing flexibility. Yoga will help to teach athletes how to use their muscles in a more controlled manner. Yoga poses correct muscle imbalances which is one of the most common roots of injury. (overuse)

Performance anxiety kills performance. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the talent of Rory McIllroy, if you can’t handle the pressure of competitive sports you won’t play to your potential. Yoga teaches us how to deal with pre-competition nerves. It can bring an athlete calmly into the present moment for the all-important sporting event. If you stop worrying about winning and instead stay fully engaged play-by-play, you’re by default more likely to win.

Yoga increases and strengthens our respiratory power. It sharpens the mind and increases focus. It improves our balance, co-ordination and stamina and boosts our energy levels.

You can’t perform at your best if you’re wiped out. Valuing your recovery is a major key to success. Sometimes it’s not that extra workout that will make you better, rather it’s that extra recovery time that allows your body to absorb all your hard work so that you can hit the track, court, or field refreshed and ready to go. No matter your sport, yoga is a powerful recovery tool.

Sporting Celebrities Who Practice Yoga: 

  • New Zealand all blacks
  • New York Giants
  • LeBron James
  • Evander Holyfield
  • Pete Sampres
  • Monica Seles
  • US Womens olympic socceer team
  • David Beckham


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