No matter your abilities on the mat, yoga has been proven to have benefits for us all. Whether you are an expert or an amateur, it can help to improve your flexibility, strength and support your athletic performance. Ignore the typical yogi stereotype as that no longer runs true. In fact, nowadays, as the benefits of yoga are uncovered, everyone is getting involved, even elite athletes.
Unlike other sporting activities, yoga is a non-competitive and mindful activity that anyone can participate in regardless of age, gender, or bendiness. It can be a time to reflect and relax loosening the tight spots that you get with working out which can hinder physical performance.
Yoga has several benefits for us all, that athletes can monopolise on to help support their sport performance. Whilst some sports require a mass amount of stamina, yoga is a balance between strength, flexibility and mobility, and research indicates participation in yoga can yield improvements in overall physical fitness, increased muscular strength, co-ordination, and even endurance.
Athletes can do yoga to support their sport. Generally, protein supplements such as protein shakes, are taken to support a workout performance but now, yoga has become an activity that many athletes choose to take part in, in conjunction with their sport training. This is because yoga can help lengthen and recover muscles following a workout or as a way to correct muscle imbalances and poor body mechanics.
Cyclists can utilise yoga as a way to stretch out the muscles which have tightened up during your ride. Long term participation in cycling where the knees are bent over an extended period of time can shorten the hamstring muscles. The yoga exercise help to allow you to engage these muscle groups sufficiently in subsequent training sessions.
Yoga helps to improve your flexibility and stability.Rowing requires trunk stability and hip mobility that are vital for optimising rowing performance. Participation in yoga can support development in these areas.
Swimming requires a wide range movement across your shoulders.Yoga can help to establish a good range of movement around shoulders and keep the back muscles open and strong.
Yoga can open the hips and relax the Iliotibial band (commonly known as the IT band) which if tight can lead to injuries of the knee, generally associated with running.
Believe it or not, golf engages your core with every swinging motion. Yoga can help strengthen your core and aid trunk rotation during the swing, allowing translation of power through the drive.
Incorporate yoga into your training schedule 2 – 3 times per week to balance out the physical stress of exercise and to support athletic performance.