According to statistics compiled by The Good Body, there are 36 million people in America who practice yoga. The report also showed that 75% of yoga practitioners also take part in other forms of exercise so. Many sports players are also keen yogis.
Professional athletes include yoga in their training regimens because it can help improve certain aspects of their skills. All athletes from soccer players to golfers can benefit from yoga. Regular practice can increase strength, athleticism, flexibility, core strength and power, which are all core components required for soccer players.
That’s just one example. Here are some other ways yoga helps with an athletic lifestyle, from the professionals themselves.
If your body is out of balance you are more easily prone to injury. After playing consecutive games, the body can become tight and stiff, so if you try to compensate by moving differently, it can set you up for injury. Practicing regularly can help balance the body and keep the muscles pliable. It, thus, helps athletes prevent injury and speed up recovery.
Olympic luger Erin Hamlin has had a successful career, having won five medals at events such as the 2014 Olympics and the World Luge Championships. Hamlin shared that she can tell the difference every time she falls out of regular yoga practice because her body will be stiff and unstable. That’s why she does yoga as much as she can to restore her body to full working order.
Yoga can be complimentary to the particular sport you play. Yoga poses can help athletes increase the strength of certain body parts so that they can perform at their peak.
Cyclist Evelyn Stevens set a new Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) record by riding a distance of 29.81 miles in an hour. The athlete said in an interview with Outside Online how she practices yoga and believes it’s a good supplement to cycling-specific work. This is because yoga poses like the Uttanasana and the Vrksasana can help you improve leg strength. It’s clear that Stevens’ yoga practice is part of the reason why she’s now one of the most successful cyclists in the world.
Mental and Spiritual Recovery
Competing at a high level for a season can be physically and mentally draining and ever more so for players and teams who make it all the way to the finals. Basketball player Elena Delle Donne, who became the MVP in WNBA’s 2015 season, admitted that she coped through that particular season by participating in yoga and meditation sessions twice a week. Like Donne others basketball stars are now practicing yoga, as it reduces stress and increases focus.
Donne practices yoga for recovery purposes but it has also increased her focus. Yoga is also being used by the Golden State Warriors in their training to help with recovery, too. The three-time champions have integrated a holistic approach to their training with coach Steve Kerr a huge advocate of yoga.
Before the fourth core value of competition, Kerr instils in his players joy, mindfulness, and compassion. It helps them recover not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. And it helps the team keep it together in pressure situations.
Holistic Training Methods
Because of Kerr’s holistic training methods, the Golden State Warriors have become one of the top teams in the league. Thanks to their consistent performances, bwin currently has the Warriors as the clear favorites to win the Playoffs. It’s a clear example of how far mindfulness and a positive outlook can get you in life not to mention sport. As such, yoga is a powerful practice that has helped Donne improve both her sharpness and her recovery levels and other professionals, like the Warriors, achieve dominance in one of the most competitive sports in the world.
It’s clear that professional athletes see the benefits of yoga and while these players often focus on power and strength, they know that yoga can complement their training in a way that can improve their performance exponentially.