yoga certificationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

When an athlete advances in progression to the level of professional within the particular sport that they play, it becomes much more of a challenge to sustain a state of healthy wellbeing. Professional athletes have rigorous training and competition schedules.

The level of competition, tight schedules, and playing through injuries may, in turn, may hinder them from a taking care of their holistic needs. Unless they are on an “off-season” schedule, they have to push for any time to fit it into their schedule.

Just as it is very important for non-athletic or sedentary individuals, to maintain a healthy mind, body, and emotional state, it is just as important for the professional athletes to practice a healthy lifestyle, to avoid any injury, and to live in a stress reduced environment, as much as possible. By practicing Yoga, and incorporating it into one’s training regimen, it will greatly benefit an athlete through a season.

There are many different types of Yoga for athletic and for sedentary individuals. There are many types of Yoga for beginners. For people who are just starting to change their lifestyle, there are many gentle styles for beginners. At the same time, athletes of all levels may want more of a physical challenge.

Yet, not all athletes need to jump into an advanced class. What if a professional athlete is making a comeback from a pre-existing or a season ending injury? In such a case, any form of physical Yoga should be therapeutic in nature. Therefore, the needs of each individual are not the same.

For athletes who have already been practicing challenging Yoga, and are in peak health, there are styles to meet their needs. Asana practice can be designed to be progressively challenging in its nature. Power, Vinyasa, Prasara, and Hot Yoga are primary examples of physical Yogic methods, which progressively challenge athletes for maximum performance and potential.

Keep in mind that any form of Yogic methodology can be perfectly tailored toward the needs of an athlete. There are already athletes in the NBA, WNBA, Track & Field, NFL, and Major League Baseball, who practice Yoga training as a daily regimen. Athletes, such as Lebron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Carl Lewis, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Philadelphia Eagles, have made it a point to practice Yoga for strength, flexibility, endurance, mental focus, and complete awareness.

If you look at a Yogic athletic body – it is defined, strong, flexible, energetic, and agile. This may not translate into size, but for those who want bulk, there is always progressive weight resistance. One example of needing size is on the defensive or offensive lines in the NFL.

Many of the football players on the lines in the NFL weigh more than 300 pounds (136.077 kg.) with an average height of 6 feet five inches (1.9558 meters). Luckily, they can also benefit from Yoga, by progressively gaining agility, energy, strength, and defined lean muscle mass.

The unique needs of athletes, at the pro level, are diversified. Yogic methodology is a great alternative path to incorporate while athletes are stretching between sets, recovering from an injury, or training. By practicing Yoga, and eating well-balanced meals on a daily basis, athletes will definitely achieve optimal performance.

© Copyright 2011 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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