By Jenny Park
Ever since you decided to become a yoga instructor, you’ve dreamed of teaching a full class of athletic students. Now that you have them, you’re concerned about safety and you want your students to have the best possible experience in your classes. Below are five tips that you may want to pass on to your students.
Athletes can gain a lot by attending classes under the guidance of a certified yoga teacher in addition to their regular training regime. Yoga provides a necessary balance for the muscles and joints that are sometimes overworked. Regular practice can ensure an athlete’s muscles stay supple and elastic, allowing them to perform to maximum capacity. Yoga can also help athletes maintain greater focus during their specific sport, allowing for optimal performance during stressful situations like games and competitions. Athletic students need not be wary of yoga, but should embrace it with as much passion as their usual sport.
It can be difficult for athletes to switch gears from competitive to non-competitive mode. Yoga is not about comparing yourself to the person next to you. It’s not about outshining the instructor or putting yourself in positions that could be potentially risky. Yoga is a personal experience where each student should push their selves to a place where they are comfortable. The competition is inert, rather than between practitioners.
Don’t Push It
Athletes should take it slow at first, especially if they aren’t familiar with all of the postures. Although many athletes are in spectacular shape, yoga training can sometimes require the use of different muscles. Many asanas can pull on joints and ligaments in a way that athletes aren’t used to, posing a potential risk. It’s wise to take it slow at first, until your body is comfortable in each of the poses. At that point, it is fine to push a little further into each stretch.
Take Your Time
Successful athletes might feel like asana practice is so “easy” that it’s okay to rush into it, perhaps by starting at an advanced level even if they are unfamiliar with yogic exercise. It’s wise to start at the beginning, no matter how physically fit you are. Athletes should take their time in learning the poses correctly to avoid injury or strain.
Breathing is an important concept and should be used throughout an entire yoga routine. Use breathing to your advantage by taking full, deep breaths during each pose. Breaths bring oxygen to the muscles, allowing the stretch to become deeper.
Yogic practices provide an excellent opportunity for athletes to practice visualization, a powerful way to see yourself succeeding before it actually happens. Athletes should use it to their advantage by visualizing a specific aspect of their sport, a specific skill or a specific goal they have set for their selves.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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