The word yoga means “YUJ” which means to connect or to join. Here joining of individual soul with universal soul, joining of mind with body, balancing of mind and body. Yoga is not only stretching a part of body, but it has much much deeper level meaning. If yoga is well practiced, it can improve every part of performance, from endurance to power to speed, while also promoting overall health and wellness.
A Background and Foundation in Yoga for Athletic Performance
In ancient times yogis realized our physical state deeply influences our mood and mental capacity. They found that by practicing the physical postures of yoga, they could become more peaceful and in turn achieve greater focus.
Benefits of Yoga on Athletic Performance
Yoga can enhance the overall performance by improving not only flexibility but also posture, body mechanics and awareness. yoga can make every form of training more effective and efficient.
A regular yoga practice can give the following benefits:
We all know power, strength, and speed are directly related to body mechanism, when our body is properly aligned, we can transmit force much more efficiently and perform better in their respective field. Whatever your sport, by returning your body to its optimal alignment, yoga can help to reduce power leakage in your deads and cleans, improve running gait and efficiency, and help you punch, jump, or throw more explosively.
By opening posture, yoga significantly increases respiratory capacity; in fact, many have overcome asthma and other respiratory disorders through regular practice. Of course, this invaluable to athletes. Yoga also has been proven to dramatically enhance circulation digestion, and efficiency of motion which all further improve energy and endurance.
Along with opening the body, yoga builds greater body awareness, includes balance, stability. As a result not only performance enhanced but training becomes far more efficient.
Of course, we all know that the one thing that stalls progress even more than inadequate training is an injury.
By improving body mechanics and awareness, yoga dramatically reduces the risk of injury, both in training and competition, in turn increasing competitive longevity and allowing more consistent progress in sport.
A significant benefit for athletes is improved recovery. By enhancing circulation and lymphatic flow, yoga not only increases strength and endurance but also allows muscles to process metabolic byproducts more quickly, powerfully speeding healing time and regrowth.
Finally, regular practice enhances clarity and focus. Yoga can give you the awareness and mindfulness you need to take both your training and your performance to the next level. Yoga is been clinically proven to improve immune function, balance hormonal function and improve stress management, all extremely beneficial to athletes.
So those who find themselves less flexible they can start with basics.
Athletic Performance Benefits of Yoga: 7 Forms of Movement
Just like in weight training we breakdown into key categories ex: lift, pull, push etc. in yoga we there are 7 basic forms of movement that are vital to health and performance.
- Standing Poses – Build leg strength as well as flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.
- Balancing Poses – Increase body awareness, stabilization.
- Backward Bends – Improve posture, respiration, digestion and elimination.
- Forward Bends – Promote health of posterior chain and help balance autonomic nervous system.
- Inversions – Improve immune function and enhance circulation in legs.
- Arm Balances – Build core and upper body strength and improve balance\body awareness.
- Twists – Improve posture, shoulder-mobility, respiration, digestion, elimination, and health of spine and nervous system.
So, as we do practice, we gradually build a toolbox of poses that fit both our bodies and goal.