The yoga buzz has been going on for years. While some of the benefits yoga offers are obvious (mind-body calming breathing thing), what are the physical benefits to athletes and those of us like myself who are obsessed with performance? There has to be some benefit, right? Even the most popular sports brand Nike offers a yoga DVD set for athletes.
How Does Yoga Help Us Amateur Ahtletes Improve Sports Performance?
Yoga improves both flexibility and strength. Since most of us amateur athletes have either sit down jobs or somewhat sedentary lifestyles, we lose our body awareness, often develop constricted posture. This affects our ability to generate both speed and power from our limbs by limiting both range of motion and body awareness.
Yoga benefits all athletes, not just the weekend warriors like you and me.
Range of motion and flexibility are keys to effectively performing any type of athletic movement. When you have optimal muscular flexibility it allows for full range of motion which in turn will cause the athlete to perform their intended task to it’s full capacity. Can you imagine trying to long jump with tight hamstrings? If it were me I would probably trip over my own feet haha!
Yoga also improves core strength. Since all body movements, speed, and power generation are dependant on having a strong core and a stable spine, yoga practice keeps the nervous system trained to activate the core. Holding poses in the appropriate posture also enables the athlete to maintain posture and appropriate form during athletic movements. This in turn enables them to perform their task more effectively and powerfully.
Practicing yoga also improves balance, controlled of breathing, and control of mind while performing physical tasks. Each of these is an important factor in mastering athletic skills. This video is a demonstration of NIKE Yoga Spokesperson Kimberly Fowler as she demystifies the practice of yoga. Her signature course, Yoga for Athletes®, is designed to challenge the body AND mind. A professional tri-athlete who suffered a crippling accident, Kimberly was introduced to yoga as a form of physical therapy and continues to take a modern approach focusing on building muscle and flexibility over spirituality. She is the owner of YAS Studio in Los Angeles.
To gain a better understanding of how to integrate yoga into your fitness routine, send me an email or leave a comment and I can suggest some ideas that will work for you.