Many major sports teams and athletes practice Yoga as it offers physical benefits to the body, mental discipline and helps prevent injuries. Yoga is different from other kinds of exercise as the practice creates movement without causing strain and imbalances in the body. Regular practice of the various asanas (poses or postures) will help you build strength and improve lean muscle mass. It also engages the large muscle groups including quadriceps and hamstrings and utilises the smaller, deeper muscles to stabilise and support the body. Yoga will allow you to tune in to your body and your mind and recognise how your body and mind are feeling. Yoga is an ideal complement to other forms of exercise and greatly complements any type of sport.
Every athlete and sportsperson has the potential to enhance their ability and peak performance by adopting a regular yoga practice and incorporating it into the training regime. Yoga builds strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Alongside developing self-awareness, the ability to concentrate & relax and breath awareness.
The ability to move appropriately is focused upon during yoga practice. Yoga will help you increase your range of movement, developing your flexibility and mobility. Yoga improves joint and muscular flexibility, which is crucial to the body’s overall structure. Flexible rotational movement throughout the body, including the trunk, hips and the spine will help stabilise your core, improving hip flexibility and rotation which will help bring balance to the body and strengthen any weaknesses and help prevent injury. This, in turn, will strengthen your core creating a healthy spine and a healthy body.
Yoga is practised barefoot which provides you with a physical connection to the earth beneath you which then helps with balance and co-ordination. Yoga helps improve your overall balance and co-ordination helping to prevent falls and injuries. Along with becoming more flexible and learning how to focus and control your body and mind you will move and bend more easily, which will lead to improved technique and form in your sport.
Yoga provides full-body conditioning and exercise that improves fitness, stamina and endurance while strengthening & toning muscles. All sport take an incredible amount of focus, persistence, patience, and adaptability. .Yoga helps you tune in to your body and mind and teaches you how to apply these techniques by paying attention to your body, mind & breath, allowing time out to be calm & relaxed and learning how to pace yourself.
The physical benefits of yoga are hugely beneficial but along with the practice of self-awareness the benefits exceed expectation. Yoga encourages self-discipline and self-awareness gaining the ability to relax both body and mind, helping you to create the mind-set to concentrate on being in the present moment. Yoga provides you with the ability to fully concentrate, to be in the here and now, even in times of physical, mental and emotional stress.
Being able to relax & switch off and focus on just our breathing is extremely important. Being calm and relaxed is essential to your health and well-being. Yoga focuses on breath awareness, to really concentrate on breathing and to notice how you feel as you breathe. Breath awareness also leads to postural awareness and release of physical tension.
Most importantly, yoga changes the way you think and approach everything in life: When you learn to move with ease and stop forcing things, you will prevent injuries and your body will open with your mind, increasing your flexibility all around.
By introducing your body and mind to the fundamental aspects of yoga including movement, mindfulness and breathing, the practice can help enhance your performance.
Incorporating yoga into your existing routine might be exactly what your body and mind need.