Today we all know yoga: from magazines to television to friends and family, yoga has become a standard part of our culture.
However, many of us still consider it a “stretch” when in fact yoga is far more than that, as evidenced by the fact that top professional athletes from American Football to Rugby and marathon runners are all adding it to their training.
In fact, if practiced properly, yoga can improve every part of your performance, from endurance to strength to speed, while also improving overall health and well-being. In this article, we will look at what yoga can give you, as well as the basics of regular practice.
Yoga Background and Basics for Athletic Performance
We all know that yoga, like martial arts, is part of an ancient and deep tradition. In their search for greater self-knowledge, yogis realize that our physical state greatly influences our moods and mental abilities.
They find that by practicing physical yoga postures, they can become more peaceful and in turn achieve greater focus.
They also discovered by returning the body to its natural state that they could dramatically increase physical capacity, part of why many top athletes now consider it a staple in their training.
Athletics Benefits of Yoga
Of course, if you have seen several yoga videos or articles, you might be skeptical about their benefits; obviously, even the most intense yoga routine cannot be compared to something like interval training or deadlifting.
While this is partly true, yoga combined with activities like sandbag training, hill running, and sledgehammer work make a highly effective routine of training. What should be the main focus is not how yoga replaces other training methods, but yoga can complement and improve other aspects of traditional training.
Yoga helps to increase both posture and flexibility, as well as the mechanics of the body and physical awareness. Yoga can make each type of exercise you do increasingly effective and efficient, helping with the following:
We all know strength and speed are directly related to proper body mechanics: when our bodies are aligned properly, we can transmit power much more efficiently and perform better across the board. This is especially important in rugby, for example.
Whatever your sport, by returning your body to its original optimal position, yoga can help you reduce power leakage, increase running speed and efficiency, and help you punch, jump, or throw more explosively.
By helping to open up the body’s posture, yoga increases breathing capacity. Yoga has also been shown to dramatically improve circulation, digestion, and movement efficiency, all of which further increase energy and endurance.
As well as opening the body’s posture, yoga fosters abetter awareness of the body which includes stability and balance. This results in performance improvement and helps to make training sessions more efficient. Find out more about efficient training with Rugby Drill Videos at www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby
Better Injury Prevention
Of course, we all know that one thing that impedes progress even more than inadequate training is injury.
By increasing the body’s mechanism and with better body awareness, yoga can significantly lessen the risk of injury, both in training and competition, in turn increasing competitive longevity and enabling more consistent progress in the chosen sport.
A slightly appreciated but significant benefit for athletes is increased recovery. By increasing circulation, yoga not only improves power and endurance but also speeds up the muscles’ ability to process metabolic by-products. This, in turn, accelerates healing time and regrowth.
Finally (and perhaps most important of all), regular practice dramatically increases our clarity and focus.