The Benefits of Yoga to Althletes

Feb 1, 2018 by

Some people are attracted to yoga because of the physical benefits of strengthening muscles and relieving pain, while others pursue the mental benefits of relaxation and stress relief. No matter which reason originally motivated your interest, you will reap benefits from practicing yoga. Everyone has the capacity to enhance the quality of their life through yoga, but the physical and mental benefits can have particular advantages for competitive athletes. Read on to discover the unique benefits to sport-minded individuals.

Firstly, yoga can be added to the repertoire of an athlete’s regimen as another means of cross-training. Because of its comprehensive nature, yoga can reach muscles that often go overlooked in any particular sport training. Also, yoga assists in lengthening muscles and keeping them agile, which can help in the prevention of joint injury and strains often encountered in athletics.

Secondly, stretching the body’s muscles can assist in releasing lactic acid. This is particularly beneficial for athletes because lactic acid tends to build up as you work out. When left in the system without release, lactic acid can cause your body to feel tired. Lengthening the muscles through stretching releases that build-up of acid and keeps them from getting tight, which means a quicker recovery time for your body after a difficult workout.

Another fantastic advantage of yoga is the development of balance. Poses that focus on balance, such as tree pose, eagle pose, cosmic dancer, and warrior three, fine tune the body’s ability to maintain stability. Increased balance can have a significant effect on an athlete’s performance as well as lower their risk of injury.

In addition to improving overall balance, yoga can assist in balancing an athlete’s musculoskeletal structure. In many sports, such as tennis, baseball, golf, and fencing, the body engages in repetitive motions that are asymmetrical, resulting in the development of uneven muscle groups. For example, it is common for tennis players to have larger muscle mass in their dominant arm that holds the racket. Sometimes, this difference is visibly noticeable! Yoga helps to realign the skeleton and balance muscle groups by working them evenly.

Athletes can reap more than just physical benefits from practicing yoga; there are a number of mental advantages, too. For example, yoga can sharpen an individual’s mental focus. Coaches of most sports would agree that a significant part of an athlete’s game is their mental determination and mindset. Meditation can boost an athlete’s positive thinking and ability to visualize. Furthermore, yoga places a focus on breathing, which can assist athletes in strenuous situations. Mindfulness and control of the breath can bring greater stamina and perseverance to an athlete’s game.

Finally, practicing yoga can help ease some of the fiery energy that is sometimes natural in competitive athletes. While an inherently competitive spirit is advantageous in a sporting match, it can sometimes cause tension outside of the game. Practicing yoga allows an athlete to foster a greater acceptance of self and bring a sense of calm to extra competitive energy that they hold off the field.

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Postnatal Yoga

Nov 17, 2017 by

With the rise of prenatal yoga there has also been a rise of postnatal yoga. Postnatal yoga usually involves your newborn (mostly because this is a great way for you to connect on a deep and spiritual level with your new family member).

There are several postnatal poses that are not only beneficial for mamas, but they also stimulate the babies. Stimulating poses either involve your baby or allow you to interact with them. This allows you to have an entire practice completed without too much fuss from the little one.

Goddess pose is an excellent postnatal pose that helps to strengthen the legs.

  1. Start with the feet about 3 feet apart with the toes pointing outward.
  2. Hold your baby for added weight or to simply soothe them while your practice.
  3. Exhale and bend your knees deeply while the hips sink down to become level with your knees.
  4. Try to keep the knees directly aligned over the ankles to avoid injury.
  5. Inhale and strengthen the legs.

This pose helps to tone the legs, hips, and core muscles.

While Goddess pose focuses more on strengthening the legs, the Boat pose focuses on strengthening the core muscles. After being pregnant for 9 months, the core muscles require some attention to get back into place.

  1. To get into a Boat pose, sit on the floor with your legs bent in front of you and your baby sitting in your lap facing you.
  2. Slowly lift your feet while holding onto your baby until your legs are parallel with the floor.
  3. Hold here for 10-20 seconds. If the baby is secure, try extending your arms out along the side of your legs for an added challenge.
  4. When you have finished, exhale and release the legs slowly back to the ground.

While the Goddess and Boat pose both incorporate your baby, Knee Plank Push-ups just stimulate your baby.

  1. To get into Knee Plank Push-ups, start with your hands and knees directly underneath you.
  2. Move the knees back slightly and tuck your toes under.
  3. Place your baby underneath you so that when you bend down you can give them some kisses.
  4. Inhale, and then exhale while bending the elbows.
  5. Make sure to keep the elbows tucked in toward your sides. Slowly lower yourself closer and closer to your baby until you can kiss their face.
  6. Inhale to press back up.
  7. Repeat 10 times while giving your baby more and more kisses each time.
  8. By having your baby under you during this pose, you are more motivated to bend your arms deeper into the push up to give your baby a kiss and to hold that push up position longer the more kisses your give them. It’s a win-win for both mommy and baby!

Getting back into shape after having a baby can be very difficult for a new mom. Postnatal yoga allows for the continuation of prenatal yoga but with more focus on the baby and toning the body. Not only are these poses simple to do, they are also incredibly beneficial in gaining back muscle tone lost during pregnancy. The incorporation of your baby into your routine not only gives you an excellent workout partner, but also serves as an excellent mommy and baby bonding experience that can (and should) be done daily. Check out high waisted leggings that will keep your post natal tummy in check and make you feel comfortable after pregnancy!

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Yoga in Schools

Aug 24, 2017 by

I remember the first time I heard about yoga in schools. My best friend from college taught at a private school in my city and she mentioned that one of her students’ activities was yoga. I was like WHAT?! That is so cool! I’d imagine that yoga has many of the same positive effects on kids that it does on adults, but how specifically does it positively impact children while in school? A quick google search found multiple articles about this very subject and all of them mentioned several benefits to kids in school including improving their anxiety, flexibility and strength, and lessens feelings of aggression.

It can help reduce their anxiety through learning breathing techniques. Yoga is also meditative by nature so they will be soothed by the repetition of poses. Different breathing techniques can help lower a child’s stress level. According to a CNN article, Beyond ‘Namaste’: The benefits of yoga in schools, having them focus on exhaling with long breaths will help stop them from hyperventilating and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is your rest and restore nervous system. Meditation or the different flow of yoga poses will also help them to relax. If you’re trying to get kids to meditate have them focus on something specific. This will help them to sit still. Focusing on something fun like a favorite color will help put them into a more relaxed state which will help with the outside pressures they feel in school.

As we all know yoga not only helps increase flexibility but also physical strength. A child that practices yoga will digest their food better and have better weight management. It’s also a good opportunity for them to learn more about their different muscle groups. Practicing yoga has a myriad of other physical benefits including improved posture, more controlled movement, and some studies have even shown improvement in bone density for your hips.

Teaching children different yoga techniques will help them lessen their feelings of aggression or frustration. One technique that I found on moodsters.com, is called body scanning. Essentially a child lies on their back and focuses on individual parts of the body and relaxing each one. This will help them to focus on relaxing their whole body and in turn relaxing their mind in a stressful situation. Incorporating some aromatherapy into yoga can also reduce feelings of aggression and stress. One mom found that placing a few drops of lemon essential oil on a cotton ball and having her child sniff them, lessened the feelings of stress and aggression.

Yoga has many great benefits for everybody young and old. I look at yoga the way I look at learning a new language. It’s much easier for young kids to learn and become fluent in a second language, so why not start teaching them at a young age? Why not have your child start practicing yoga at a young age so they can start experiencing the benefits early and have more confidence and ability to manage stress throughout their entire life?

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