The art of doing yoga provides many benefits for the human body, from improving our flexibility and strength to how we relax and breathe. While yoga may not always be easy, it is a good idea to implement yoga into your exercise routine every week. Doing so is especially important if you are an athlete because you will learn the skills necessary to be stronger and perform better so you can master your craft.
Let’s talk about the importance of yoga for various types of athletes and how it can improve your performance.
Yoga For Equestrians
While casual observers might believe that the life of an equestrian is as simple as getting on your horse and enjoying the ride, real experts know how much mental and physical strength plays a part in good horse riding. It takes strong arms, a solid core, great balance, and powerful glutes.
There are many exercises that you can implement, including a plank press that will help you to work your core so you can keep your body straight while on the horse. There is also the tree pose that can improve your balance. Many of these yoga exercises can also help you to destress when you are not riding or during the off-season. Take the time to breathe during every exercise, and you can feel your anxieties melt away.
Yoga For Runners
While runners need to work on their speed and run on different terrains to prepare for a big marathon, they should also practice yoga. One of the biggest benefits of yoga for runners is the chance to stretch their legs, hips, and glutes so that they can run faster and for longer. Just about any yoga pose, from the spine twist to the downward-facing dog, can help with improving your running technique, flexibility, strength, and reduce your chance of injury.
Plus, when you practice yoga and slow down your motions, you get a chance to work on your breathing, which is very important for long marathons when you need to control your oxygen intake.
Yoga For Soccer Players
While yoga also helps soccer players to control their breathing and run faster without pain or discomfort, proper exercise can also help them in other ways. For instance, by performing forearm and sidearm planks, soccer players can keep their core muscles engaged, which also makes it easier to run and turn their entire body around quickly when necessary.
Yoga can also help a soccer player’s flexibility and mobility. By practicing low lunges and the pigeon pose, a player can increase the external rotation of their legs, so they can stay flexible while keeping one leg in place as the other kicks the ball. In general, yoga, like most forms of exercise, gets your heart pumping, and cardiovascular health is essential during a sport where you spend 90 minutes running back and forth.
Yoga For Rock Climbers
Rock climbing may seem like a tough sport, but it really is about light movements and strength training, so anyone who wants to get into rock climbing should consider taking up yoga. Like the others, this sport will require immense core strength, and you can use the exercises we mentioned to help you with that.
In addition, you will need to practice extreme mindfulness and body awareness when it is just you, a rock face, and the potential for danger. When you practice yoga, you get to work through your breathing and feel better overall, and that training could be necessary during your next expedition. Plus, when you keep your body strong, and you work on your flexibility, you are also less likely to be injured during the climb.
Yoga For Basketball Players
To many, basketball may seem as simple as throwing a ball through a hoop, but really, the sport requires constant movement, great balance, and the ability to leap high into the air in order to score a point. Yoga can help with all of that. For instance, by practicing a runner’s lunge several times per week, you can train your body to react more quickly and be lighter on your feet.
Yoga can also help you to play better defense. In order to be quick when trying to shake a blocking opponent, you will need to change direction within a moment of time, and to do that, you can try a standing pose like warrior one, which will have you aligning your feet in such a way that you will loosen your inner and outer hip muscles for faster movements.
Yoga For Football Players
Just like basketball, many positions in football also require the ability for players to turn at a moment's notice and run great distances while keeping their heads on a swivel. By practicing yoga poses like the downward-facing dog, a player can exercise their hamstrings and decompress the tension in the vertebrae. The ability to control breathing is also essential when performing during physically intense plays.
As you can see, yoga can improve performance in just about any sport or athletic event. Consider taking a class or adding yoga to your routine, and you will find that you are that much happier and healthier.
By Katie Brenneman
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