Yoga For Athletes

September 20, 2010

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Speed recovery, improve balance and prevent injuries—these are just a few of the many benefits athletes can realize from practicing yoga.

According to Rosabeth Dorfhuber, a master yoga instructor who specializes in sport-specific yoga coaching, athletes can also use yoga to improve their on-field performance, which is invaluable for all athletes.

Back in 2006, an article in STACK magazine featured the Cincinnati Bengals engaging in hour-long yoga sessions as part of their off-season conditioning program each week. Since then, the trend has exploded.

Check some of these athletes stretching the trend:

LeBron James
Shaquille O’Neal
Maria Sharapova
Chauncey Billups

Besides the aforementioned benefits, yoga can improve oxygen intake and alleviate back pain. According to yoga guru Baron Baptiste, who’s been part of the Philly Eagles coaching staff, yoga also helps prevent over-development of certain areas of athletes’ bodies, because it promotes muscular symmetry.

Yoga offers mental benefits as well, and they can be especially helpful if you suffer from pre-game nerves. Mental boosts include improved focus and concentration, reduced stress and anxiety, and a sharper competitive edge.

According to Team Yoga, a Seattle-based company that specializes in yoga training for pro athletes and teams, incorporating yoga into your training routine can reduce injuries, which ultimately improves performance. It can even extend your athletic career.

Try these yoga poses to enhance your game:

Downward-Facing Dog — opens up the hamstrings, calves and shoulders

Butterfly pose — opens up the hip flexors

Half-Pigeon pose — opens up the hip flexors

Triangle pose —opens up the entire back side of the body while also working the adductors and hamstrings

Toes pose — stretches the bottom of your feet.

Sources:  teamyoga.com, yogajournal.com, celebritydietdoctor.com, sybelsyoga.com, stack.com, athletesdoyoga.com

Photo:  athletesdoyoga.com

Topics: YOGA
Sarah Gearhart
Sarah Gearhart
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