4 reasons every athlete should do yoga

Stretching – 3 ways to build flexibility
July 25, 2018
Find your yin-side: The benefits of Yin Yoga
August 31, 2018

4 reasons every athlete should do yoga

By Paula Mitten, owner of Durga Yoga Studio

Every athlete, regardless of what their chosen sport, is constantly looking for ways to improve performance. There are so many aspects to high performance from the physical readiness of an athlete to the state of mind that it can be hard to know where to start. Yoga offers the athlete much more than most people are aware off. Not only can it be used to balance strength and improve flexibility but it can help to keep the mind calm and focused when under pressure to perform.
Here are just four of the many benefits you will see when you introduce yoga into your training schedule:

1. Improved focus

Yoga will help you to be present and stay focused on what you are doing. It will help you to let go the future and what you THINK might happen. There is no way of seeing into the future! Equally so it will allow you to let go of past results and know that it’s not your reality or your destiny. This will leave you free to dedicate all of your energy to your sport and continue to stay focused which in turn will mean that you see the results.
The ability to stay mindful, in the present moment, comes from an ongoing yoga practice and means that, as an athlete, you should aim for a consistent yoga practice over at least a 6 month period to really benefit.

2. Reduction in injuries

On a physical level, tight muscles cause injury. The more you can build flexibility, supported with strength in the body, the less likely you are to injure yourself. Your range of motion will improve which will help you in your sport and means that you will be able to go further without the restriction of muscular tension.
On a deeper level, you are much less likely to injure yourself when you are moving mindfully. Being fully present as you move means you are less likely to bring your body into a place where you are pushing past your limits.

3. A positive mindset

Creating positive affirmations or positive statements to be true in the present moment will be a massive benefit in your sporting life. You can work to re program your mind to believe in yourself. You are what you think so get yourself into a positive mindset and watch your wins grow and flourish.
“See it and believe it” is a commonly used phrase and there is truth in that. If you tell yourself something often enough you will start to believe it and act upon it, regardless of whether it is positive self-talk or negative self-talk!!! So why not switch the negative thoughts around and start building your strengths and creating new positive grooves in the mind to set yourself up for success.

4. Better control of your breath

You can be in the present moment but still be engulfed in fear or stress, so how do you control those emotions? The most effective way to continually return to calmness is to learn how to control your breath! When your breath is slow it will keep your mind calm and centred. Through yoga you will start to observe your natural breath. You will learn how to lengthen it naturally, to find a comfortable pace with your breath and gradually you will increase your ability to take a fuller deeper breath. All of this combines to leave you in the best possible place to perform.

Paula works with many different athletes on a daily basis and they all speak about the huge benefits they receive from the practice. You can listen to her speak about reasons athletes come to her for yoga on her facebook live 10am chats where she speaks every Friday about yoga.

If you or your team would like to explore the benefits of yoga in more detail why not contact Paula and speak to her about the right option for you? Whether it's in a group private classes or a specialized workshop, Paula will share all of the secretes to improving your performance and seeing the results you desire!

Image Credit: Ryder Wear