SPORTS YOGA CORK
YOGA FOR ATHELETES & SPORTS
Yoga is much more than just stretching or simple relaxation – with Yoga one can improve their range of movement in the body and also increase their flexibility. It improves athletic performance by lessening the chances of sports injury, improves range of movement, increases concentration, strength, balance, and body awareness, endurance and reduces recovery time.
Everyday more and more top athletes are moving towards yoga as a means of cross training with their own sport for example; Roy Keane, Pete Sampras, Ryan Giggs; Andy Murray; Annika Sorenstam; Jesper Parnevik; Eduardo Romero; Swedish Golf Team; Carl Lewis; Venus Williams and the list goes on.
Classes incorporate the combination of balance, strength, focus, flexibility and awareness. Special attention is also placed on each individual's needs and goals to allow for a personalized and balanced yoga experience.
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Here are 5 of the dozens of physical benefits yoga can bring to your sport
Improves Flexibility – By Improving your flexibility this leads to an ease of movement with fewer injuries. It enables you to move more freely and with a greater, improved range of motion. The more freedom your body has to move into the positions necessary for your sport(s), the more quickly you can do so, with less effort, strain of risk of injury.
Improves Balance - Many sports require your body to be able to move in any direction quickly and with ease in fractions of a second. Without balance, the upper half of the body feels disconnected from the lower half and your response time increases. Many yoga postures emphasize that you to find your core or center…this is your balance. Through conscious practice, your body learns where its center is.
Increases Strength - Yoga uses your own body as the weight you lift or hold. Many yoga postures require many major and minor muscle groups to be used simultaneously. In some it feels like every muscle in your body is being used! This is much different than traditional weight training in which you isolate one or two muscle groups per exercise. The strengthening in yoga requires your entire body to be working as a unit so the strengthening of one muscle group is connected to that of another muscle group. This improves your overall sense of strength from a centered, connected place. You'll find it much easier to move quickly and effortlessly in sports when your whole body feels strong as a unit.
Improves Agility - Almost every one of the above mentioned aspects of yoga assists in improving your agility. The combination of total body strength, flexibility, posture, balance and kinesthetic awareness is aimed at improving your body's ability to move freely, quickly and without pain or stiffness. This, of course, is what is most important to athletes and most likely one of the main reasons to practice yoga for your athletic performance.
Reduces Stress - One of the quickest and most significant benefits of yoga is the effect it has on reducing stress. How does this affect athletic performance? When you are stressed out, your body holds onto that stress. It can be held in the neck, back, hamstrings, stomach, and head - just about anywhere. Tense muscles decrease flexibility and energy and increase pain and risk of injury. Yoga helps release stress in your body and mind so the body has more freedom to perform at its best with the least amount of pain.
Heals Injuries faster - Most athletes usually end up with some injury at some stage in their life. Often when we get injured we over compensate somewhere else in the body to ease the imbalance in the body. Yoga tries to bring some balance back in the body especially when injured. Runners are often working with very tight hamstrings or some recovering from triathlons usually end up with knees problems. Tennis players can often get Repetitive strain injury and the same with golf players. Yoga can focus on injuries in a therapeutic manner by giving gentle exercises to bring back movement to an area in the body or simply modify certain movements so that the body is no longer under strain and can heal itself.
What we don't highlight above are all the benefits to your mind and spirit as well. That will come with practice, so in the beginning enjoy the physical.