By Kimaya Singh
Let’s face it, Yoga for athletes has to be physically challenging for the cross training effect. The deeper aspects of meditation aren’t always valued by athletes as much as the physical asana work. Physical Hatha Yoga is a remarkable system of exercises that complements many of today’s competitive sporting activities.
Some of these activities are football, soccer, track and field, swimming, and skiing, to name only a handful. The practice of Yoga poses and breathing techniques will help an athlete to increase his or her range of flexibility, joint mobility, muscular strength, balance, coordination, stamina, and the ability to focus.
One of the most rudimentary aspects of winning any competition is our mental attitude and ability to focus on the task at hand. Negative attitudes about one’s ability sap one’s strength, hope, and optimism. Yoga practice will help an athlete to become aware of his or her internal dialogue and shift the dialogue to one of positivity.
The slow, focused practice of Yoga asanas will also enhance an athlete’s ability to concentrate on only one task, the task of winning or performing well in his or her athletic endeavor. This mental discipline will help an athlete to avoid becoming distracted by extraneous thoughts at a critical moment in the competition or event.
Many competitive sports require an extreme amount of endurance. Athletes often engage in sporting activities that place great demands on the cardiovascular system over an extended period of time, necessitating a great amount of oxygen. The breathing practices of Yoga help to teach an athlete to breathe deeply when under physical stress. In this way, an athlete will learn how to take in and circulate oxygen on a regular basis, even when he or she is running the final mile of a marathon or skiing down a double diamond slope. This will improve an athlete’s performance by improving his or her endurance.
The practice of Yoga will also improve an athlete’s flexibility and balance. Many sporting activities stress and shorten muscles and ligaments throughout the body. Practicing Yoga on a regular basis, in tandem with your sport of choice, will help you to maintain flexibility throughout your body. Practicing Yoga balancing poses will also improve your ability to balance when you are participating in other sporting activities. This improved sense of balance is critical to performing well as an athlete, whether you are a running back trying to catch a touchdown pass, or an Olympic gymnast performing a routine on the balance bar.
A consistent practice of Yoga poses and breathing techniques will help an athlete excel in his or her chosen sport. Yoga is a wonderful therapeutic tool that will help to maintain flexibility and improve an athlete’s sense of balance. Yoga also teaches the ability to develop awareness of one’s thoughts, in order to enhance the positive thoughts and weed out the negative thoughts. This skill will help an athlete to harness the power of positive thinking and focus on the training session, event or competition at hand.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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