A well-rounded yoga practice includes dynamic flexibility training, core stabilization and strengthening, and balance work. By focusing on these vital elements, yoga can help you recover faster after workouts, open up the tight areas that hinder performance, improve range of motion and develop mental focus and concentration.
Depending upon your training regime, you can develop imbalances in the body, which result in injury if not addressed. Most sports, like cycling and running, consist of repetitive movements, usually in one direction and in one plane of motion. These sports can develop certain muscle groups while ignoring others. Over time, this process leads to overuse injuries. Often, these injuries are directly linked to lack of flexibility, poor core strength, and misalignment. Yoga will help alleviate tightness, create a strong center and align the spine.
For instance, tight hamstrings and hip flexors will cause the body to recruit from other joints, joints not intended for bearing extra loads. Common injuries from running and cycling include those involving the illiotibial band (ITB), knees, hamstrings, hip flexors, and shoulders. Try Yoga For Athletes: IT Band & Hips - Kylie Larson. Running tightens and shortens the muscles and joints without a corresponding lengthening and flexibility. Try Yoga For Runners - Enhance Your Stride - Claire P. Cycling can result in overdeveloped quadriceps and tight hamstrings which can pull the hips out of alignment. Yoga For Cyclists: Amp Up Your Ride - Claire P will help!
Different sports create different issues and yoga can address them all. We’ve got classes for most sports. Check out these new ones: Yoga For Soccer Players - Claire P or Yoga For Golfers - Kristin Gibowicz.
Two other essential elements in yoga are meditation and breathwork or pranayama. Being more relaxed will also aid in athletic performance.
Yoga helps you relax not just tight muscles, but also anxious and overstressed minds. The mind-body connection in yoga is essential to helping athletes develop mental acuity and concentration. Try this simple seated meditation before your next endeavor: Meditation for Ultimate Athletic Performance - Claire P
Finally, the attention to breath during yoga can be considered one of the most important benefits to athletes. Learning to stay focused and centered through uncomfortable poses by concentrating on even inhalations and exhalations sets up the athlete to stay focused during a race or challenging workout.
Tailor your yoga practice to your workout regime: On a day where you are completing a tough workout, you’ll want relaxing, mellow yoga. If you have an off day, a vigorous, dynamic class will help you build strength and endurance. Whether you have fifteen minutes pre- or post-workout or time for a full-length class, we’ve got it! What have you got to lose?
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