This Article is About
athlete
hip joints
tight muscles
yoga practice
mental focus
muscle group
sprain
openness
hips
Can Yoga Really Make You A Better Athlete?
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Can Yoga Really Make You A Better Athlete?

For some people, yoga is nothing more than painful looking twists and impossible to perform poses followed by weird sounds. But, most people are not aware that there are many types of yoga nor are they aware that there are many reasons that yoga is good for them, especially if they are athletes of any kind. No matter what sport you play or at what level, yoga can help you to improve performance and may also be able to help you reduce your risk of serious, game ending injuries.

Yoga, regardless of whether you are choosing hatha, Ivengyar or other types can help your sports performance by allowing you to increase your balance as well as your flexibility. For some people, tight, toned muscles are what they are continually working for and while that may make them look better on the track or field, it is going to lead to an increased risk of hamstring and other muscle group injuries simply because of how tight they are. Tight muscles are shortened muscles which increases their risk of strain and sprain during movement. Yoga allows those muscles to relax as well as lengthening them back out so that they stay strong and supple. Balance requires strong core muscles as well as mental focus, both of which can be increased through regular yoga practice as well.

Regular practice can bring back a sense of openness in certain joints of the body as well. The hips and shoulders are areas that tend to get compressed and tight during certain sports. That compression can increase the risk of strains or tears that can cause serious pain as well the potential for permanent injury. But, there are many yoga poses, some adapted specifically for the athlete, that are meant to release some of the compression in the shoulder and hip joints.

But, yoga is more than just the poses, no matter how simple or complex they are. It is also about the mind/body connection and the ability to control and regulate the breathing. That focus can come in handy during tough competition or in endurance races where the mind can quickly convince the body that it is going too far and that it is time to quit. Yoga restores length and suppleness to the muscles and calmness to the mind. It is also the perfect complement to any other type of sport or exercise, allowing you to center your mind and reconnect with your body through breath and movement as well as breath and stillness.


Street Talk

Amie, in undergrad I studied dance. I had a number of alignment issues going into the dance program. However, one summer my friend and I daily practiced yoga (doing around a 30min to 1 hour routine). There are two things that I gained that summer by doing yoga that I was able to take back to school the next fall: 1) I was more flexible, as you say, and 2) my alignment was better. I'm a big fan of how yoga can physically aid the body. Thank you for writing on this.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I am glad you enjoyed it (the article). I love yoga and suggest it for people all the time.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I should check into this, I know it could help with all my issues. thanks for the info Amie!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yoga is very helpful for a lot of things... there is a web site, and i can't think of what it is called, but there are five minute videos there for everything that you can think of. If you can find that site, check out Suzanne Deason's gentle yoga... it is very relaxing, very easy to do, definitely very beginner. i think you will like it. and hey, if you hate it, it's only five minutes!!!!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yup, I can't believe how limber some people are! I am an old crotchety fella with joints that pop like crazy! I don't think I can touch my toes keeping my legs straight! Here let me see. Oh I can just barely touch 'em! Pretty good for a ole cowboy!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

A little bit of gentle yoga would help you, you know. I am more flexible now than I was in my teen years.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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