Yoga like sports is a discipline. Yoga develops and deepens over time with the use of breath work and postures (asana’s) which work together with the aim of being able to sit and meditate for a certain period of time thus increasing your focus and awareness. In a similar way Sport’s people 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 also hampers your performance.
Rugby Players, hurlers, footballers and athletes often suffer from lower back issues and leg injuries such as Achilles tendons, cartilage damage, tight hamstrings and calf muscles etc. I work with sports people who through over training have shortened e.g. hamstring muscles. This can lead to lower back issues, tilted pelvis and even shoulder injuries as the muscles of the body become out of balance. 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.
I also work with Cyclist’s. Cyclist’s spend a long period of time seated in a forward bending position whilst on the bike. This can lead to the shortening of the front of the body and a lengthening of the back and this again throws the body out of natural alignment and can lead to injury and/or pain over a period of time.
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