Yoga is a discipline much similar to sports. It requires dedication, practice, consistency and determination. It deepens over time with consistent practice of asana’s developing strength, power and flexibility into the body.
Breathing exercises develop lung capacity which improves overall performance in any field. It brings with it huge body awareness which helps to maintain a healthy body and helps to prevent injury. Meditation and mindfulness develop deep focus and awareness.
In a similar way Sport’s people apply the same discipline. They train and exercise to get fit in order to spend a specific length of time competing in their particular field.
Yoga is brilliant for sport’s people because whatever field of sport you specialize in you may have overworked some muscles which in turn creates imbalance in your body. This can lead to a weakness in your body, a reoccurring injury and it also hampers your performance record.
Sports people often suffer from lower back issues and leg injuries such as Achilles tendons, cartilage damage, tight hamstrings, calf muscles and repetitive strain injury most due to tight muscles.
There are a number of reasons why muscles become tight. Muscle tension is most often the most common cause. Overuse during training or inadequate stretching before / after an intense workout can be to blame. Over training can result in a delay in muscle soreness, this should be taken as a sign to rest your muscles to allow them to recover. Once the initial soreness has passed you can begin to slowly build back your flexibility through a daily routine of yoga asana’s and yoga flow to stretch out the muscles.
By stretching out your muscles daily you will see an enormous improvement in your flexibility in a matter of a couple of weeks. This will also help to prevent future injury as deep body awareness will also alert you when something feels wrong in your body.
An example of repetitive strain can be seen e.g. in Hurlers and golfers can bring their upper body out of correct alignment as the repetitive movement of swinging to the same side continuously lengthens one side of their body whilst shortening the other. This again creates imbalance and can lead to injury, discomfort and often pain.
In yoga the Sun Saluation e.g. is a flowing sequence of postures which provides the body with a complete thorough work out. Yoga poses elongate shortened and fatigued muscles, bringing back flexibility and strength, helping to protect the joints and reduce the risk of injury.
Breath work helps to bring calmness and clarity to the mind which in turn brings greater awareness, focus and concentration. These are tools you learn to draw on and apply whilst competing giving you a greater edge in your sports performance.
Benefits of Sports Yoga are as follows:
- Strengthens muscles
- Increases stamina
- Increases joint stability
- Reduces the risk of injury to e.g. ankles, knees, hips and back
- Creates greater flexibility especially in the calves and hamstrings
- Builds core strength and stability
- Develops breath control and awareness
- Develops and improves focus and concentration