Yoga is for everyone, athletes included. Any athlete could benefit hugely by adding yoga to their training regimen.
In Sanskrit, ‘Yoga’ means, ‘To Unite’ which has a special meaning that’s to link the mind and body and live in every moment. Yoga is a precious gift of Indian ancient tradition to humanity. It is considered one of the oldest and finest medical practices throughout the world. Due to its increasing awareness and importance, the United Nations General Assembly has declared June 21‟ as the International Yoga Day in December 2014.
Yoga strengthens the mind-body connection, brings calmness and relaxation to the mind, enhances self-confidence, strengthens self-discipline, reduces stress, keeps the muscles of the body youthful, and increases circulation in arteries. It would seem that yoga has enormous advantages and can help us to be more balanced, relaxed, focused, efficient, and effective athletes.
Nowadays, athletes only focus on exercises for their muscle growth and do hard sports training. However, physical fitness may gain through these practices. But what about mental health? Mental health is also crucial for athletes to do well in games. Yoga practices are the best for increasing concentration power and lowering stress. It also acknowledges the importance of mental training alongside physical training.
To understand how yoga can benefit professional sports athletes, it is necessary to explore what is exactly required to play a sport and play it well and then cover how yoga will be the major factor to encounter those requirements. It is well acknowledged that to play any sport, we must develop the basic skills of that sport and continually train the body so that we can apply the skill in an advanced and elegant way. Having a body that is adaptable, robust, and controlled is also another important consideration, if one is not able to move the body with the grace and speed required for the sport then performance will be below. Likewise, if a person is not able to maintain strength or stamina for the required duration, their performance will be lowered.
To play a sport well, it is also necessary that a person can concentrate and focus with confidence on the task at hand without distraction or timidity. Without concentration, you cannot have success in any sports or life, and also during sport, the toughest phase is the handling of distractions. As such, in addition to being able to maintain mental composure and balance, a professional athlete needs to have a high degree of alertness, concentration, and focus throughout the sporting match. How then can yoga practice improve sports performance?
This question answers that yoga provides you with all the necessary developments right from the root level of your body and mind to work together uniformly for a long time.
The three key factors that yoga provides you to boost your sports performance are:-
1) Prevents injury
2) Enhances Muscle Function
3) Combats stress
As an athlete, a particular sport can develop certain muscle groups while ignoring others. Over time, due to this process causes imbalances in the muscles and joints, leading to overexposed injuries. Yoga helps to counter this problem and maintain the overall balance of the body’s muscles. It helps the muscles and ligaments move through a full extent of motion, thus cultivating balance and core strength which is a tremendous advantage to athletes in their chosen sports.
In some sports like Archery and Shooting where attention and control over emotions demand more. But psychological factors like stress, anxiety, and aggression considerably affect the sports performances of the athlete. In this situation, yoga can help athletes effectively manage stress, an often forgotten but key contributor to recovery and performance. It allows athletes to become more physically and mentally conscious of their body’s movement and their minds too.
Insight Benefits of Yoga for Athletes
According to the Yoga Alliance, practicing yoga regularly can help improve your sports skills and overall fitness. Some benefits are:-
Yoga for Injury Prevention
Yoga prevents injury by:
- Improving flexibility
- Addressing muscle imbalances
- Strengthening movement patterns
- Assisting with recovery by combating inflammation and increasing oxygen flow
Poses that are good for athletes
Wheel: works on arm strength; open back, shoulders, and hips
Down dog: great hamstring, shoulder, and calf opener
Eagle: great for balance and stability while opening shoulders and hips
Devotional warrior: opens hips and shoulders while strengthening legs
Yoga can help to energize and revitalize your body. It is a great addition to any exercise regimen and has many benefits for improving sports performance. It is an extraordinary practice for athletes of all ages who can do it at their own pace. So, walk out of your comfort zone and onto the mat today and start doing Yoga. You can also go for a professional yoga trainer to get the best out of it.