Amateur and professional athletes alike have discovered the benefits of yoga, an ancient Indian exercise technique that uses meditation with stretching and strength-building poses.
In its various forms, yoga can help you achieve an inner peace that can help reduce muscle fatigue and mental stress while improving performance.
Adding yoga to your fitness and training plan can:
- Increase flexibility of the spine and joints to improve balance.
- Enhance stamina and physical endurance.
- Strengthen muscles and increase core stability and flexibility.
- Flush out toxins that build up in muscle tissue during endurance activities.
- Increase spatial awareness.
- Improve sleep.
- Help speed recovery.
Yoga also can serve as a low-impact cross-training exercise for athletes who do the same sport or exercise routine year-round.
Yoga places emphasis on breathing techniques that teach the discipline of being present in the moment through physical postures. Yoga’s focus on breathing can help increase oxygen intake and your ability to stay relaxed during competition.
This video demonstrates three yoga positions you can work easily into your fitness program. If you want to incorporate yoga into your fitness program or sport training, it’s recommended you work with a trained instructor and begin slowly.
Enjoy the practice and take extra time to do poses properly to avoid injury. Only go as far as you can tolerate and avoid trying movements or poses that overstretch or are painful.