5 Reasons for Athletes To Do Yoga

5 Reasons for Athletes To Do Yoga

I’m writing this post because one of the main goals of Man Flow™ Yoga (and of Maximum Performance Yoga, the company that Man Flow™ Yoga is currently partnered with for teacher training) is to help athletes reap the benefits of yoga in order to make them perform better on the field, make smarter decisions, and play injury-free.

This is quite often a difficult sell, and it’s usually because mainstream yoga isn’t geared toward athletes. For the most part, a yoga studio caters to women who are more interested in stress relief than using yoga for performance. However, as you’ve probably learned from the hundreds of articles you’ve seen, yoga isn’t just for those women seeking stress relief. It just depends on the instructor’s presentation of and approach to yoga. If you’ve seen any of my videos, editorials or Facebook posts, you know that I’m focused on the physical performance aspects of yoga, which is why I’m teaming up with Maximum Performance Yoga to help train fitness professionals, volunteers, and even parents of kids interested in teaching yoga to kids.

Here are 5 reasons to do yoga as an athlete.

1) Yoga covers aspects of physical fitness that traditional strength and conditioning programs do not cover.
Remember the last time your strength and conditioning program spent 45 minutes on flexibility training? Neither do I. Yoga is one of the few forms of exercises that combines core strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance into one workout. It teaches you to use the power of your body at the extreme range of its motion.

2) Yoga helps you push through physical pain.
Yoga is fantastic in that the exercises are a mental challenge as much as they are a physical challenge. Most often, the question is not whether or not you can hold the pose – you can. The question becomes whether or not you have the mental strength to push through. Practicing this mental strength will help you perform on the field when you start to run out of juice, or think that you’re tired.

3) Just breathe.
A few months ago I was coaching lacrosse and conducting people who several sprint drills, when a student looked at me and said that he couldn’t run anymore, because he couldn’t breathe. Dumbfounded, I looked back at him and said, “If you can talk, you can breathe. Get going.” And he finished his sprints. Yoga teaches you to use your breath to keep you pushing through the poses, no matter what level of fatigue you are at. Once you apply that discipline of breathing to sports, you’ll find that you have more endurance than you previously thought. Kind of like Dory said in Finding Nemo, but instead of “swimming”, say breathe: “Just keep breathing, just keep breathing, just keep breathing, breathing, breathing.”

4) Recovery.
Athletes are notorious for not stretching. Yoga helps your muscles recover by lengthening your muscles, which relives soreness and lets you get back to playing your sport more quickly. Going beyond that, once you figure out how the exercises in yoga work, you will be able to do them yourself, without an instructor, video, or guide, to empower yourself to relieve your sore muscles.

5) The bodily awareness necessary in yoga is applicable to every aspect of your physical fitness, regardless of the activity.
Proper core engagement. Using the full range of motion of your muscles. Avoiding the arching of your lower back. All of these things are applicable to other forms of physical fitness, especially weight lifting, one of the main tools of athletes to become stronger. Using the lessons of yoga will help you improve your performance in other forms of physical fitness, which will make you perform better in athletics.

There you have it. 5 reasons why you should be doing sports. Rather than just telling you 5 reasons to do yoga, I’m going to give you a plan of action. Here’s how you can get started.

1) Go to my YouTube channel and watch my video, “Yoga for Athletes”. This will give you an idea of the movements involved in yoga, and how they apply to sports.

2) Go to the Man Flow™ Yoga website and download the eBook for an in-depth guide to 32 poses that will help improve your physical performance, key mental and physical concepts to help you do yoga safely and effectively, and sample sequences so that you can begin to create your own yoga workouts.

3) Want to get involved? Check out the work that I am doing with Maximum Performance Yoga. I am joining them as a teacher trainer to instruct people how to teach yoga to athletes. Our curriculum includes how to demonstrate and teach the poses involved in our unique program, business basics to help you market yourself and take control of your life by making your own schedule, and how to motivate kids to do yoga to make them injury-free and more successful athletes. We are holding several upcoming teacher trainings in Los Angeles (September 19 – 21), Austin (October 17 – 19), and in San Francisco (November 7 – 9). Visit www.mpyteachertraining.com for full details, and contact Nathan, founder of MPY, directly with any questions you have.

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