Yoga can be a Great Benefit to Athletes when added to Training

For more and more sports stars, from the collegiate to semi-professional to professional levels, yoga is becoming a common part of their preparation and workout routines. Confronting the long-held principle that yoga holds no advantage for performers involved in “hardy” sports such as football, basketball, hockey and even boxing, many institutions are including yoga into their training programs, while some of today’s leading sports stars separately have made yoga part of their off-season training as well.

For years, athletes have relied on weight training and extensive cardio routines to help them stay in peak condition to meet the demands of their sport. The relaxed movements of yoga (possibly their only knowledge of the philosophy) apparently lacked the strenuous exertion they feel their bodies needed to get them in game-ready condition.

But that misconception has been altered as teams and sports performers have began investigating yoga more closely and have realized the discipline of body and mind that is required to perform some of the more difficult yoga positions.

Numerous famous sports stars have used yoga to help in their conditioning, from NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parris, Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton; tennis greats Guillermo Vilas, Yannick Noah and John McEnroe; ex-NFL star Dan Marino and golf legend Gary Player were among the first to practice yoga in the '70s and '80s. And that movement continues today as stars such as tennis’ Serena and Venus Williams, pro basketball's Shaquille O’Neal, pro football's Shannon Sharp and Jon Kitna, boxer Evander Holyfield and entire franchises such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Cubs have tapped into the knowledge of yoga trainers to add a different and much-desired facet to their regimen.

So why add yoga to your athletic training?

Most likely of most interest to athletes is the evidence that yoga can improve overall strength. For a lot of athletes, increasing strength and power is the key to performing better at their sports, regardless of whether it's baseball, swimming, track and field or football. But weight training, which many athletes put their faith in, only trains one or two muscle groups at a time, demanding long hours in the training room to achieve the results they think they need. Most of them aren't aware that yog and its concentration and poses utilized all of the muscles in the body, many at one time, and teaches the muscles to work in unison to achieve strength and agility. The benefit of this newfound agility? An athletes who is stronger and whose body moves as a well-coordinated unit.

Next, yoga helps strengthen the body’s core, the area from which almost all of the explosive energy needed in sports originates. In games such as tennis and baseball, the core is where the hitting and throwing power originates. In a sport such as football, the core of the body is responsible for the rapid turns in direction that are necessary to succeed in the sport. Helping this part of the body say in shape is of the major benefits of yoga. The movements and stances of yoga served to improve the posture, help align the body and assists in the overall operation of the body, which can make athletes faster, more powerful and toned.

By adding muscle and balance, yoga also helps increase responsiveness in athletes, another major point. By combining enhanced strength, mobility and balance, yoga can increase agility that can be useful in virtually all sports.  In addition, improving mobility by means of yoga can help athletes as they try to eliminate the probability of injury by getting the body used to the detrimental effects of continual motions.

And finally, yoga can enhance the relationship between the mind and the body. Many athletes mention the “head games” associated with sports – picturing success, attempting to foresee an opponent’s actions, etc. These frequently split-second choices require the clarity of thought that can be acquired through yoga. With breathing exercises, meditation sessions and the centered poses of yoga, sports performers can discover what is required to get their mind and body to work as one cohesive unit, even during the most stress-full periods of a game, when muscles can tighten up, become inflexible and lower performance.

Yoga has become a accepted part of the training regimen of athletes of all levels because of these benefits and more. By exploring the diverse forms of yoga and their unique characteristics, athletes can find the perfect style of yoga to fit the needs of their specific sport.

Check out Yoga in Kamloops for more yoga info.

Another highly recommended article is Yoga, The Comfort Zone For Angst-filled Teens