Athletes all around the world understand the importance of a strong mind and body to reach goals. The entire landscape of Yoga is changing as Athletes turn it for both mental and physical benefits. Let’s dig deeper to see what other advantages can come of adding Yoga to an already existing training regime.
An increased range of motion and flexibility, balanced training, increased strength as well as faster recovery, a stronger mindset and a reduced chance of injury for Athletes are just some of the things Yoga helps with. Let’s talk about that in more detail further on. For now, keep reading to know about Athletes who do Yoga for the mental and physical benefits and balance that it brings to their training.
Yoga today is deeply rooted in basketball. Many ballers have made Yoga a permanent part of their training regime. look at LeBron James – he swears by Yoga. Not only has Yoga helped him strengthen his body and muscles but also avoid injuries. He describes Yoga as a mind-body technique that keeps him ahead of the curve as basketball requires a lot of endurance and coordination. The repetitive movements such as jumping and twisting coupled with the running motion followed immediately by stopping require agility, and flexibility.
“Yoga isn’t just about the body, it’s also about the mind and it’s a technique that has really helped me, You do have to focus because there are some positions that can really hurt you at times if you aren’t focused and breathing right.”LebRON JAMES TO BIRAN WINDHORST OF DLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER
3rd Baseman for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball, Evan has practiced Yoga continuously to stabilize his body and mind. Baseball players need to balance mobility and strength in order to succeed on the ball field. The trick becomes knowing what kind of deficiencies exist. Yoga can act as the perfect recovery strategy to make mobility gains in areas that become fatigued. According to Evan he has been able to work on a greater rotation of his core and overall stability – which is of immense importance for him – that has resulted in greater performance on the field.
Three-time grand slam winner, Andy Murray embared on a new training regime involving Yoga in 2016. After a career-threatening back injury, Murray returned to form through the power of Yoga and claims it saved him “a lot of pain” and allowed him to stay strong, supple and in good shape as he enters the latter part of his career.
“My back, now that I have been looking after it, doing way more different types of stretching – sort of injury prevention work – is no issue whatsoever, whereas for two years I was in a lot of pain because I was training hard but not doing the right stuff to get it better.”ANFY MURRAY TO TELEGRAPH.COM.UK
Bad boy Rickson, also known as the Einstein of Jiu-Jitsu had more to his name than just being born to pioneer Helio Gracie. Yoga and its associated breathing techniques gained the notice of many, thanks to his example. Rickson learned to converge elements of Yoga such as breathing and meditation to gymnastic movements from Orlando Cani, allowing his body to exceed the demands of jiu-jitsu.
“You have to find comfort in uncomfortable situations as it puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems.”RICKSON GRACIE AS QUOTED BY STEVEN ABOOD IN “Live In Your Worst Nightmare – The Fighting Wisdom of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Master Rickson Gracie”
Why is Yoga good for pro Athletes?
Athletic bodies need balance and strength. While many kinds of training are designed around keeping strength and stamina as the core focus, most times balance is not a primary focus. Many poses in Yoga are designed to counterbalance one-sided training in sports such as tennis, baseball, etc. Yoga increases flexibility and range of motion while relieving muscle tension which is beneficial for greater sports performance.
Better form, better mobility, more flexibility, increased mindfulness, improved core strength… we could go on for a lifetime. But lets really get into the benefits. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro Athlete or rather a time-to-time player. Whether you’re a runner or a gym freak. If you are active and always aiming to bring your body and mind to the next level, always trying to achieve better form, strength, and mobility to the best of your abilities – Yoga can help you.
Let’s begin with the most obvious benefits. Yoga helps increase your flexibility and this directly has an effect on your strength. Think of it as a bow and arrow, we need flexibility in order to be able to harness all that power to launch with speed and precision. A research case recorded 26 male college Athletes taking part in Biweekly Yoga sessions resulting in a significant gain in flexibility & dynamic movements of joint angles while practicing certain Yoga poses.
Think for a second about the movements that you repeat in your sport or training. So many of these movements create imbalances in your body and these imbalances are what later result in injuries. They also create a limitation in terms of agility and range of motion. Yoga helps cater to these issues by balanced training and creating support for underutilized muscle groups that result in injuries over time. In this study of the NCAA Division, 1 Athletic team reported greater mindfulness, greater goal-directed energy, and less perceived stress, after yoga sessions for 5 weeks.
What athletes really need is the focus. Yoga can be the fuel to the performance, prompting Athletes to visualize increased performance by being more mindful and present. In another study focused on national-level sportsmen in judo, volleyball, and Athletics showing performing more work with lower oxygen consumption, indicating better oxygen delivery and utilization.
While most people, when they think of Yoga, think of it only as a mild form of exercise that helps flexibility mostly and is commonly associated with spirituality, so much has changed. The Yoga persona has merely become a stereotype. Yoga can help not just with your performance but also with your mental focus. You could follow suit and take your training to the next level by incorporating Skill Yoga in your regular regime.