Yoga for Athletes by Ra Yoga

Yoga is becoming increasingly popular amongst athletes and sports enthusiasts. The main motivating factors for athletes beginning a yoga practice are usually: working with injuries, preventing injuries, performance, recovery enhancement and mental focus.

Here are some reasons why yoga can be beneficial for those involved in sports and athletics.

Yoga increases flexibility and range of motion. This will decrease the chances of injury during sports and athletic activity, while ameliorating performance.

Yoga improves mental focus and body awareness.

Yoga improves balance. Various sport disciplines are repetitive by nature, thus creating body imbalances, i.e. some muscle groups are strengthened while others are ignored. This can create musculoskeletal imbalances that can generate chronic injuries.

Yoga increases strength and agility. Many yoga postures involve the entire body working as a whole unit. This enables athletes to move swiftly and effortlessly in sports when the whole body moves as a unit.

Yoga enhances recovery. The majority of sports activities generate lactic acid in the muscle tissue. Yoga poses can help in its removal. Additionally, yoga improves sleep patterns, thus providing proper rest which is crucial for an athlete’s recovery process.

Yoga reduces stress. When one is stressed out, the body can hold that tension in the neck, shoulders, back, hamstrings, stomach, etc. Tense muscles decrease flexibility and increase pain and risk of injury.

Yoga enhances the respiratory system. Yoga breathing exercises improve the ability to maximise lung capacity. Healthy lungs are extremely important for athletes.

Whatever sport one chooses to practise, yoga can enhance and complement it. Ra Yoga provides support to athletes by meeting their specific physical and mental needs. In these sessions the appropriate static stretching (active, passive and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), active range of motion and dynamic stretching are included. As sometimes, a tight muscle is due to weakness in the same muscle or surrounding muscles, targeted strength work, including the core, is also included.

Yoga for Athletes is held St. Dorothy’s School, outdoor sports complex, Zebbug, on Tuesdays at 7:00pm