For the general populace, yoga is associated with meditation, chanting, deep breathing, contemplating one’s navel, and other esoteric practices. Very few people would associate it with sports. These days, however, coaches and athletes are seeing many benefits that yoga can offer in the field of sports. These benefits are well-documented and worth looking into if you are searching for ways to improve your athletic performance, whether you are a professional athlete or you are into a sport for pure recreation and enjoyment.
Prowess in any sport can be improved by yoga,
most especially those that require flexibility, strength, and controlled breathing. The different poses in yoga stretch the muscles and make for greater flexibility. By holding the different postures, the muscles become stronger and longer. These poses work the major muscle groups in the entire body, including the back, abdomen, neck, shoulders, legs, hands and feet. Flexible muscles and joints make any athlete less prone to injury.
Yoga poses also coordinate with controlled and deep breathing. The lung capacity is improved, thus boosting aerobic health. Deep breathing also improves oxygen uptake, sending life-giving oxygen to all the cells in the body.
One of the many benefits of yoga in sports is correcting muscular imbalance. Muscular imbalance can happen when an athlete or sportsman uses the same set of muscles in one particular way. A good example is golf. Most, if not all, golfers swing the club in one direction. The same muscle groups are used all the time. This means certain muscles are very well developed while others are not.
Yoga stretches and strengthens all the muscle groups, relieving tension on the muscles used for the sport while working out the other muscles that are neglected when playing golf. In addition, yoga improves balance and coordination — characteristics that are vital in any sport.
One of the many sports that benefit from yoga is cycling. Cyclists can spend hours on the saddle, bent over the handle bars. Their backs and shoulders become stiff. Arm and leg muscles also tighten from steering, controlling the bike, and pedaling. Yoga poses for the spine and back muscles relieve tightness of the back. Stretching helps ease stiff muscles and joints in the legs, arms, shoulders and neck. Doing light yoga poses is not only good for a warm-down routine, they are also perfect for warming up before a ride.
Yoga promotes mindfulness, which enables athletes to have more focus and be more attentive to their game. It strengthens the mind and body connection, which is what every athlete and player needs to stay ahead of the competition. Whether you are a runner, basketball player, tennis player or weight lifter, the practice of yoga can benefit your sport.