Many of us already know that athletes use yoga all over the world to benefit their athleticism. And it's not breaking news that yoga increases flexibility in your soft tissues so you are less likely to strain or sprain any joints or muscles.
However, some new ideas about the benefits of yoga for athletes center around the idea that when you spend much of your time exerting yourself physically, you need to apply some movements that are not just rejuvenating for your body, but also for your mind, and for your inspiration to stay on track.
Here are a few unexpected ways that yoga benefits athletes in particular.
1. Listening to Your Body
As an athlete, your body is not just a place that you live in. It is a place that you work from, also.
Athletes need to be completely in touch with their bodies physically in order to know when to slow down, speed up, work harder, or take a break. The biggest lesson in yoga is that of being able to listen to your body carefully and know its cues.
In being able to listen to your body in this way, yoga teaches us to be in the present moment. This level of concentration without distraction can be vital during a sport of any kind.
3. Building All-Over Strength
When you solely practice one sport, you may be building strength in just one or two areas. Compliment your sport with yoga and you will become stronger everywhere.
This can only benefit your performance as an athlete.
4. Calculating Your Next Move
Being able to control your breathing pattern plays into keeping you cool and calculating when performing. Oxygen is calming, after all, and when your adrenaline is pumping it can be hard to think clearly.
Yoga is so good at suggesting that you move with your breath at all times, that it becomes second nature to take that off your mat and into your sport. This helps athletes calmly plan the next move at a moment's notice without needing to stop the action.
5. Stress Relief
Being an athlete can come with added anxiety, stress, and pressures.
Yoga helps rinse those stress hormones out of your body more quickly so they don’t burn you out and detract from your natural energy level.
A great yoga class inspires its students to be better in all realms of their life, whether it’s with mantras or deep assists, postural workups, or simple breathing exercises. This kind of inspiration is exactly what sports teams and independent players need to win.
7. Increased Enthusiasm and Energy
As an athlete there will be occasions when you lament having to be physical. Using yoga in these moments will reinvigorate your want to play, while giving you a break from the drills of your sport.
Yoga naturally loosens physical tightness, and expels lactic acid build-up from the muscles, which in turn will lift your spirits and raise your energy level.
All athletes stretch before and after training. Yoga adds a little extra boost to this area. It is the next step towards excelling in your sport both physically and mentally.
Are you an athlete? What benefits have you experienced from yoga? Share with us below!