Yoga and Fitness Performance

Yoga and Fitness Performance

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and we have all heard of the benefits of this fascinating discipline.  How can yoga help athletes with sports performance is what this article will explore.  The greatest benefit of yoga is that it not only benefits the body but also the mind.  The main principle of yoga is to be able to balance body, mind and spirit.

By practicing yoga, those who lead a very active lifestyle and tend to push themselves too far will benefit from yoga.  Yoga has the ability to help restore a body that has been weakened and build it up again.  The yoga postures, breathing exercises and inner focus can help athletes rebalance, help to strengthen overworked muscles, joints and ligaments.  By using this process, it is possible for athletes to enjoy a longer athletic career and have an inner balance and harmony that will last throughout their lifetime. 

Focus and Visualisation

Yoga can help athletes to quiet their mind giving them the ability to focus on the task ahead, especially if they are competing in an important competition.  Yoga can help athletes focus and “get into the zone”.  Many athletes will attest to the fact that visualising a win, just like they’d do if playing bingo for money will create positive energy and give athletes the determination to win.  Yoga can also help athletes to refocus, if they have won or lost, and helps with both the ups and downs.

Flexibility and Strengthening

Because of the way yoga is practiced, over time athletes will find that they are much more flexible, and this is especially true for skaters and surfers who need all that extra flexibility for their snaps and cutbacks.  But flexibility is a great benefit for any athlete.

Yoga is known for strengthening stabiliser muscles and unfortunately many athletes overlook them until an injury occurs.  Athletes should remember that these muscles are vital and focusing in on them will hopefully reduce injuries and expensive medical bills.

Improved Mental Health

Most athletes especially professional ones are always on high alert when practicing or taking part in a competition.  Yoga enables these athletes to have some down time where they can disconnect mentally and make time to restore energy focus.  Yoga and meditation go together and these two can help athletes disconnect and do some inward focusing no matter where they are.  Sleep is vitally important to an athlete and yoga helps to regulate and improve sleeping patterns which allows for more energy.

Yoga Forms

The forms of movement or poses in yoga each help with a particular area of the body.

Standing poses help with leg strength and flexibility in hips and hamstrings.

Balancing poses will assist with increased body awareness and proprioception.

Backwards bends will improve posture, breathing, digestion and elimination.

Forwards bends support well-being of posterior chain and aids in balance of autonomic nervous system.

Inversions boost immune function and circulation in legs.

Arm balances strengthen core and upper body and enhance balance and body awareness.

Twists also help with improving posture, mobility of shoulders, breathing, digestion, elimination and aids in the strengthening of the spine and nervous system.

Many athletes have never considered making yoga part of their fitness programme, but it has been proven that yoga aids not only with bodily strength, but also mind and spirit.