Athletes and Yoga
Yoga isn’t just for yogis. Many athletes have turned to yoga for good reason. Olympians use yoga, as do professional golfers, football players, basketball players, street performers, and even power-lifters. No matter what your sport, and if you are a professional or simply play on a recreational team, yoga can help you by:
Making You More Injury Proof
Yoga helps to stretch and condition not just the muscles, but all the connective tissues of the body, so that when you reach, jump, or kick, you are less likely to pull a muscle – like a hamstring or groin – because the muscles have more mobility and pliancy. You are no good to your team if you are always out for injuries. Yoga helps to minimize the frequency that they will happen, but when they do, it also helps an athlete recover more quickly. Kareem Abdul Jabbar – basketball great, swears by yoga for this reason as well as the other two listed herein.
Offering You Better Performance
More limber muscles often help follow-through on a golf swing or extension in a point-breaking kick. If you are tight and rigid, it doesn’t matter how strong you are. You need both slow-twitch muscle strength as well as fast-twitch muscle strength, but also the tendon-to-muscle strength that is only gained in practices like yoga and some martial arts. The specific combination of building strength while also taking muscles to their extreme lengths makes you better at just about every sport. The next time you go for that killer spike at the volley ball net, you’ll be happy you have an extra inch or two of arm length with which to play the game – and it’s all due to yoga.
Making You More Focused and Creative
Many top-tier athletes attest to yoga’s ability to help them be ‘in the flow,’ meaning they can anticipate their opponents moves, four or five moves ahead of them – like a chess master, they can outscore, or out-strategize them due to the clarity of mind that is gained from practicing yoga. They also feel more relaxed during games and practices and find that this overflows into everything that they do. High performance means not only out-performing your opponent physically, but also mentally, and yoga offers a big advantage to its practitioners in these areas.