Why Athletes Should Practice Yoga

STACK Expert Chris Costa explains why he thinks all athletes should practice yoga.

Yoga for Athletes

I had the pleasure of spending a week at Canyon Ranch, located in the Berkshires in Lenox, Massachusetts. It's spa and fitness heaven, offering everything from ab-specific classes to fitness assessments by professional exercise physiologists. The highlight for me was a yoga class especially designed for athletes.

Yoga focuses on isometric contractions deep within the muscles, which aids in lengthening muscle tissue. Increased stability through yoga can help agonist muscles, otherwise known as primary movers, to create more power and strength through synergistic movement control.

This translates to increased athletic performance. Flexibility leads to increased agility in sports, whether through quicker feet, faster acceleration or the ability to outmaneuver opponents for a tactical advantage. Stability aids in the transfer of power, as well as the prevention of injury to primary movers.

Yoga helps you focus, and focus speaks for itself. Attention to detail combined with the ability to control emotion can make for a more effective weapon on the field.

Yoga helps break up the monotony of a regular training regimen. Athletes work so hard on and off the field that they are always on the cusp of peak performance and potential injury. I firmly believe that yoga can provide any athlete with the proper tools to help prevent injury. It also allows athletes to understand their bodies better from a biomechanical standpoint. Weaknesses that may not be noticed in the gym can be exposed through yoga practice.

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