Yoga and Sports
Sports Yoga is all about creating balance. Balance in the body – muscular groups, mobility and strength. Balance your life with work, family and friends including your busy training schedule. Balance the body mentally, emotionally and physically.
Balance your life between belief and reality. The human body will perform much better when not pushed to the limits. Sports Yoga or Athlete’s Yoga will help you create equilibrium in your body, mind and spirit. It helps in creating a well balanced athlete, a person who will enjoy their sport, live and love their game, accept the outcome, learn and let go and move on.
Mastering the physical and mental challenges of yoga can be a revelation for athletes accustomed to years of a different kind of training. Most athletes are used to conditioning in a particular way, usually by isolating specific muscle groups with the aim of increasing the intensity and frequency of the training regimen; this kind of conditioning focuses on isolating different parts of the body. Yoga, on the other hand, is based on the principle of integrating the body as a whole and shifts the emphasis to the quality of the movement. This new holistic approach can reveal weaknesses and imbalances that may never have been exposed before. As you might expect, this will come as a surprise to many athletes who think they are in tune with their bodies.
In some ways, this new acceptance of the body’s limitations can be the first step in an athlete’s growth. Becoming more aware of the body’s own restraints is really the root of niyama. Learning difficult yoga poses requires time and patience and the process itself teaches respect for one’s own limitations. Taking the time to learn each pose, along with its respective function, will likely present new challenges for your athlete clients. They will begin to appreciate that each pose uses the body as a whole and that the effectiveness of the poses is determined by the quality of the movement. This is a far cry from focusing on how many reps or laps they can do in a single training session.
Yoga doesn’t just “stretch” the body; it also strengthens all muscles, including the deep stabilizers; heightens body awareness; reduces stress; and counterbalances the repetitive actions your clients perform in their sport. Adding yoga to the regimen will ultimately result in a full-spectrum approach to sports conditioning.