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Athletes and Yoga

We hear many reasons why men choose not to practice yoga such as ‘yoga is not cool’, ‘only women do it’, ‘I’m not flexible’ or ‘it’s not a real workout’. In fact professional athletes across a wide range of sports are turning to yoga as part of their mental and physical training. How and when did an ancient discipline become a training tool for optimal athletic performance? In the years following the 1990’s, yoga has become highly visible in health clubs and training studios across the country. As a result of introducing the practice of yoga to a mainstream audience, the benefits have been revealed to those who practice regularly. Anecdotal evidence, word of mouth, and countless articles written point to this:

Yoga can improve athletic performance by increasing mental concentration, improving flexibility and balance, preventing or minimizing injury. Poses (asanas) prepare the body for relaxation and enhanced mental focus. Essentially this is how an elite athlete prepares for competitive sports giving them that extra edge against their opponents.

Highly demanding physical performance can be very taxing to muscles, ligaments, and bones. For example, constant running and jumping are responsible for tight quadriceps and gluteal muscles. Activities that cause ankles to roll are subject to injury and repeatedly over the course one's’ career. One goal of a yoga practice is to address the large and small muscles, protecting muscle and bone from injury. Another is to become aware of one's’ weaknesses and deficiencies so incorporating select yoga poses can aid in recovery becoming more flexible and limber and grounded. Actively strengthening complimentary muscles groups is essential for athletes who train in order to support the active body for increased confidence and precision performance.

A balanced mind and body can assist in a higher level of performance enhancing the skills of men and women in sports such as: football, basketball, soccer, and tennis, golf, jogging to name a few. To push the body to the extreme without being grounded in yoga body conditioning, not only invites injury, but, does not allow tired fatigued and tight muscles to recover.

Overall, the key to yoga postures plus breathe work transforms the athlete or weekend warrior. The benefits can be realized after one practice and overtime this becomes a means to balance, strength, restore overtaxed muscles, joints, and ligaments. One pro athlete summed it up best by stating yoga is “meditation and therapy for my muscles because the better you treat your body, the more longevity you’ll have”.

So the next time you attend a class at either location of Joy Yoga Center , you just may see a recognizable face from our own Texan team setting up their mat and blocks beside you.

Namate’, Barbara Strax

Read the article the Houston Chronicle mentioned us in when the Houston Texans visited Joy Yoga Center HERE

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