Should I be doing yoga as an amateur athlete?
With sports training improving year on year, becoming more rigorous, more focussed and more often, are you doing everything you can to look after your body? 2/3 field sessions a week, strength and conditioning thrown in as well in your spare time, then a weekend game, when do you have time to repair? Removing rest periods from your programme, which is often the case mid season, this can cause your muscles to be prone to injury.
So, how can you prepare yourself for the negative effects on your body? From tense muscles, inflexibility and becoming injury prone, these need to be counteracted during gruelling seasons. Here at warrior, we turn to yoga for answers.
Thankfully, adding in a few yoga sessions a week into your morning routine can help prevent all of the above. Now, we're not talking about doing yoga to become a super flexible gymnast (unless that's your sport, obviously). Yoga can be used to just maintain your current flexibility as you get older, improving it too rather than it just becoming more impaired with age. Not to mention its relaxing effects for your soul.
But wait, there's more. Yoga also helps improve your core muscles, you know, the ones you skip at the end of workouts when you're too tired. Your core is at the heart of the majority of sports movements, and if you can train it while relaxing, take full advantage. As you progress with the yoga, more difficult poses can also help with core muscular endurance... the pro's list just keeps getting better!
But the main benefits as an athlete is clearly the injury prevention. Strains, sprains and just general wear and tear that your body will go through during the season, yoga can help thwart. We'd take 20 minutes of yoga in the morning over a 2 week stint on the sidelines any day.
When practicing yoga, focus on breathing. The key is slow, steady breaths, as you move through the positions, sinking deeper on each rep. On stretching positions, take deep breaths, allowing the spine to lengthen out. As you come back down, breath out, and try to push each stretch a couple of inches further than the last. We're not just improving the bodies flexibility, we're relaxing the mind too, so chill out, and think calm. Enjoy.