IIf you thought Yoga was only for men & women in robes, delving deep into their consciousness, you couldn’t be more wrong. Athletes like Andy Murray, Ryan Giggs & Maria Sharapova and many more, swear by Yoga. The ancient practice is popular for its ability to improve athletic performance and reduce injury risk. Since Yoga requires one to practise mindfulness and awareness, it has empowered the concentration levels of athletes.
Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Yoga plays a vital role in the success stories of athletes around the world.
Yoga balances the effects of High Intensity Training on Athletes
An athlete often focuses more on high intensity workouts and training sessions. There is little thought given to flexibility and stretching. Practices enhancing awareness and mindfulness are often neglected. But, these are essential practices that need an athlete’s attention.
Olympic cyclist Mara Abbott claims, “It’s about an experience of just being in your body and getting to know it. I think that a regular yoga practice really helped me to know my body well, so I could tell and be tuned in when things weren’t going well.”
“If you want to achieve whatever your highest level of potential in sport is, you need to have that relationship with your body.”, she says.
While lifting heavy weights is a great way to gain strength, nothing can beat lifting one’s own weight to gain maximum strength. Intense workouts make the muscles sore and stiff at times. They tend to have a contracting effect on the muscles. Yoga acts as a counter-balancing technique. It makes one agile and enhances endurance capabilities. Yoga has restorative effects on the body after a high intensity training session.
When an athlete becomes more mindful and practises awareness, they can dodge many injuries. They can recover from injuries quicker as well, because Yogic practises are healing in nature. It teaches you to move with ease and not force activity. Yoga empowers you with energy which gets drained during highly exhaustive workouts. Don’t mistake it for an easy-breezy practice. Bikram yoga, Ashtanga yoga & Kalari Martial Yoga and many others will get you sweating as good as any other high intensity workout will. Certain yogic practises tend to enhance your bodily fire (agni) and therefore, you activate your dormant source of energy. While there are others like Yin Yoga, which bring stillness and calmness into the body.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a more meditative style of Yoga. In this practice, one tends to hold the poses for a longer period of time. This is done to target connective tissues, rather than the muscles. This aspect makes it quite beneficial for athletes as their regular workout sessions are more muscle-focused. In Yin Yoga, the practice is more passive in nature thereby involving little muscular engagement. Yin Yoga finds its roots in the Taoist theory of Yin and Yang. These are two opposite concepts which together, represent balance. Yin is stable and passive, while yang is changing and active. Thus, Yin poses involve little muscular activity and more restorative action. This style of Yoga helps you to relax and rejuvenate.
Why should Athletes practise Yin Yoga?
This style of Yoga is especially beneficial for athletes. This is because Yin Yoga increases circulation in the joints and improves flexibility. It tends to target hips, lower back, and thighs. It has a relaxing effect on the body and mind. Athletes are often under tremendous physical and mental stress. Yin Yoga is a great way to alleviate this tension.
The many benefits it has to offer are:
- Helps you to ground your energy and improve sleep.
- It helps you enhance awareness and slow down, thereby reducing anxiety and stress.
- It increases circulation in the joints and improves flexibility.
- It is good to boost memory and concentration.
- Yin Yoga involves you to get intimate with your feelings, emotions & sensations.
- It activates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps lower blood pressure, regulate sleep, assist digestion, boost immune function, balance hormones and more.
Which Yin Yoga practises should Athletes give a try?
Here are a few poses that will have a life enhancing impact:
- Butterfly Pose – Engages the legs, chest and arms.
- Sphinx Pose – Works on lower back, outer buttocks and inner legs.
- Saddle Pose – A wonderful pose to engage the entire body.
- Child’s Pose – Relax like a baby, and become one with your breath.
- Caterpillar Pose – Stretch the spine and flex the entire body.
Yin Yoga is a very calm and relaxing practice. It does not require rigorous movement. But that should not be mistaken for a relaxed form of exercise. Yin Yoga is engaging on an internal level. Thus, it is one of the most effective practises for overall health enhancement.
Kashish Yoga teaches Yin Yoga and other styles of Yoga at its picturesque school situated in Goa, India. But if you can’t come here, we can easily reach you too! The online Yoga classes by Kashish Yoga offer various Yoga Teacher Training courses to you at your home. An athlete can easily learn Yin Yoga and various other active forms of Yogic practises that shall enhance your physical and mental wellbeing. Alongwith the physical movement, our Masters of the artform enlighten you with ancient wisdom from Ayurvedic and other Vedic texts. This knowledge when applied to our everyday lives, unlocks unlimited abundance and power. Real wealth is good health. Work towards it!