Yoga yields great mental and physical benefits that can help boost sports performance and act as a sports enhancer. This article will cover the benefits of yoga as a sports enhancer in-depth; however, before all of that, let’s look at what yoga is and its history & philosophy.
Yoga is a set of exercises that are physical, mental, and spiritual which involve different poses with certain breathing techniques combined with meditation principles. It originated in ancient India over 5,000 years ago.
The literal meaning of yoga is “union”. In essence, it means that it brings reality to you. Yoga became widely popular in the 1970s in Western countries.
The primary philosophy behind yoga is that it connects the three aspects of us: the mind, body, and spirit. It has six branches that individually play a purpose which is equally important. Yoga also has different types and styles which you choose depending on your goals and fitness levels.
Yoga is a great sports enhancer and is used widely among top athletes. It is sometimes the secret between them and other athletes. If you want to learn more about basic yoga, check out a beginner’s guide to yoga.
Benefits of Yoga
You might be skeptical about yoga’s benefits and its role as a sports enhancer. However, it is important to remember that yoga is not a replacement for conventional fitness training and exercises, rather it is an addition to it and will enhance your fitness regime.
Yoga can make the different forms of fitness training more effective and efficient with increased flexibility, mechanics, and awareness. It has been proven many times clinically that yoga truly helps. Let’s dive deep into the benefits of yoga as a sports enhancer.
Yoga has demonstrated the ability to improve your respiratory capacity through different postures and breathing techniques. In fact, many have reduced the adverse effects of asthma and other similar conditions through yoga. This benefit is clearly an important one for those involved in sports.
On top of this, yoga has also been proven to significantly boost body circulation, digestion, and flexibility i.e., the efficiency of your motions. Combine all of this and you will see yourself with more energy and endurance, all important for an aspiring champion.
Body alignment is key because it affects our strength, power, and speed through our understanding of body mechanics. And resultantly, if our body is rightly aligned, we can exhibit strength, force, and power in a way that is better, efficient, and effective. With all of this, you can perform much better in athletics.
Irrespective of the sport you are in, with the right body alignment, yoga can play a positive role in plugging up any power leaks which will improve your running, punching, jumping, and throwing abilities and reveal your full potential.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits out of all, especially as a sports enhancer. Regular yoga improves our focus and clarity of mind. However, one question arises: does this matter in athletics?
According to Rich Roll, the factor that distinguishes an athlete from an Olympic champion is the mind. Yoga provides you a platform to gain better self-awareness and mindfulness which are critical aspects that can push your performance to the next levels, levels that you might have thought as insurmountable.
Yoga has been proven clinically to improve one’s immunity, hormonal balances, and stress management. All of these are imperative for athletes who want to push their limits and unveil their true potential.
An injury can be a great hiccup in one’s fitness regime that affects progress adversely, at times even more than insufficient training. But this is where yoga comes in: it improves your body’s awareness, mechanics, and flexibility which all reduce the chances of injury during training and performance. This allows you to attain long-term competitiveness and progress in your athletics.
In addition to improved endurance, strength, focus, and injury prevention, yoga also helps in being able to achieve better balance. Yoga allows you to build solid body awareness and opens your body which as a result leads to relatively improved balance and stability. This solid balance and stability assist significantly in your training and makes it more efficient & effective.
After going through all these different benefits of yoga as a sports enhancer, you must have by now also understood that yoga also leads to higher flexibility. As a sportsperson, you would appreciate the existence of better flexibility in athletics.
Certain yoga practices also challenge flexibility and build it up so a higher range of motion leads to more force being exerted. Consequently, you can perform much better across THE board in sports that require such an expansive range of motion such as golf swings or baseball pitches.
On top of all these benefits, yoga can also make recoveries from injuries quicker and more efficient. You are basically giving your body the care it needs and deserves as it acts as a counteraction for muscles that are contracted during training and performance. All this leads to faster recovery from injuries, and you can be back up onto your feet much earlier than you would have expected. There’s a reason why every top athlete engrosses themselves in yoga.
Poses That You Can Try
As the name implies, you engage in a position that is like the cobra snake. You need to lie flat on your stomach, and you need to lift your head, chest, and shoulders halfway or fully while keeping your elbows slightly bent and chest broadened.
With this pose, you can resolve any spinal compressions, enhance flexibility, and boost your body’s circulation. All in all, a great pose to build up flexibility and engage different muscles of your torso and lower body.
Downward Facing Dog
This is one of the most known yoga poses where you go from a straight tabletop position into a position where you raise your hips upwards towards the ceiling and elongate your spine.
This pose helps to bring your body to optimal alignment, improve balance, reduce tightness in shoulders and back, and improves any pain and stiffness.
In this pose, you stretch your left leg to a 45-degree angle while you keep your right leg in line with the ankle. You pull your right forearm over your right thigh while you stretch your left arm towards the sky and slowly push your hips towards the ground.
This pose relieves any tightness and pain in your legs and hips. It develops focus and enhances balance, both critical for a sportsperson.
In A Nutshell…
Every top athlete, including Olympic champions, has built in regular yoga exercises in their daily fitness regimes and training which have allowed them to build better endurance, improve focus, better balance, increased power, and higher flexibility. Yoga is a great complement to your conventional training and allows it to be conducted more effectively and efficiency.