Why athletes should be incorporating yoga into their Strength & Conditioning routines:
A well-designed yoga program provides a great dynamic stretch and muscular activation series to use with other forms of training. Yoga is used as an additional training modality, it is NOT meant to replace any existing programs. Numerous games are played in high frequency so reducing overall injuries and recovery time may enhance performance and collective team outcomes.
Five Benefits of Yoga/Meditation for Athletes:
1) Increased Range of Motion. Progressive muscle relaxation techniques can increase efficient movement as well as increased range of motion around joints. Optimizing flexibility in relation to the specific activity rather than simply maximizing flexibility is the main aim of training.
2) Increased Core Strength. Increasing an athlete’s core stability will result in a better foundation for force production in the upper & lower extremities.
3) Increased Focus. Relaxation techniques are designed to reduce physiological arousal and increase task-relevant focus.
4) Increased Balance. Yoga isolates movement separately where momentum and prior movement patterns can perpetuate imbalances/weaker sides. Yoga is an effective way to correct muscle imbalance or body mechanic problems.
5) Increased Mind-Body Connection. Through nervous system balancing, athletes can improve sleep patterns (speeding up healing process), reduction in anxiety, increased calmness & more. A combination of yoga and meditation can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. As such, the regular nervous system will be at rest, and the muscles will become more relaxed. Constant practice of yoga and meditation will make the body less vulnerable to stress-related illnesses. Yoga and meditation help to reinforce muscle memory, deepen mental calm, facilitate relaxation, and promote restful sleep. It is also a highly effective means of immune system enhancement, and promotes injury rehabilitation.
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