- Improved Strength: Routine and consistent practice of the various yoga asanas (poses or postures) helps build strength and improve lean muscle mass. These gains will enhance core body stability and significantly impeded overuse injury by strengthening the supportive but otherwise under-developed muscles surrounding the more utilized muscles; creating a more balanced and optimally functional overall strength.
- Balance: At the age of 30 our balance naturally starts to decline. Through a consistent yoga practice, coordination and balance are improved immensely. Why is this important? Better balance and coordination means enhanced control over how you move my body, which in turn leads to better technique and form.
- Flexibility: Yoga invariably improves joint and muscular flexibility, which is crucial to the body’s overall structural soundness. Enhanced joint and muscle pliancy translates to greater range of motion, or an increase in the performance latitude for a particular movement or series of movements. For example, a footballer with supple hamstrings and hip joints is less inclined to have “tears” or “injuries” and will also help with kicking distances and running (sprints and jogging).
- Mental Control: The physical benefits of yoga for the athlete are huge. But they’re nothing in comparison to the more ephemeral benefits. Most people, particularly athletes, tend to think of yoga as a great “workout,” which it is… But much like a muscle, the mind can be trained and yoga also does this.
What does this have to do with athletic performance? Everything! Yoga helps free you from fear, from negative thought patterns and become laser focused. It is an incredible power to focus entirely on the task at hand and remain thoroughly fixed in the present moment without the invasion of unhelpful thought patterns. Imagine being able to transcend that to a football or netball game? Even better, imagine the entire team with this mindset, determination and drive!
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