Performance yoga is yoga that is based specifically on the mental and physical needs of the training athlete. This can include individuals like runners and those training for long distance runs or triathlons or it can meet the needs of those training in a team, like football or rugby players.
These individuals training for a competitive sport put their body through the repetitive stresses and are pushing their bodies to the performance limit. Yoga can help maximise the athletes physical performance by increasing mobility and flexibility. It can also act to help athletes deal with the psychological pressures of competing.
Often athletes are training hard carrying out the same high impact drills and practice over and over with little emphasis on stretching, rest days and muscle recovery. Yoga can provide these benefits:
Increasing power by developing strength and flexibility in the muscles and joints. This allows for greater muscle fibre recruitment and more efficient movements. This can be particularly true of the core muscles whic support the lifting of the legs and protection of the lower b ack. Practicing yoga along with your other sports helps with muscle function as you learn to develop breathing techniques that lead to increased lung capacity to facilitate oxygen exchange and Carbon dioxide expulsion. It can help train focus in the mind which leads to mental stamina and improved focus.
As well as the physiological benefits you can also learn to control more areas of the body. When your yoga teachers queues the movements they are directing your attention to specific areas of the body which builds the neuro-connections as mentioned above. Having greater control over your movements will help reduce injury. Recovery time from training sessions and injuries can be accelerated by practicing yoga on your rest days. Stretching and relaxation will increase blood flow to any damaged tissue (this is how muscle bulk is generated) leading to enhanced muscle repair.
– Can increase muscle performance by generating neurological pathway from muscle to brain enabling increase muscle fibre recruitment
– Increases range of movement in joints by developing flexibility in both muscles and ligaments
– Reduces likelyhood of injury
– Effective as a form of soft tissue and collagen fibre rehabilitation increasing blood flow to damage muscle tissues
– Helps to bring the body back into alignment
– Increases power
– Enhances co-ordination and agility
– Contributes to improved cardiovascular fitness and stamina by lowering resting heart rate and increases VO2 max
– Teaches athletes how the body performs and functions as a synergistic unit
– Relieves performance anxiety and stress, and frees athletes from mental distractions
– Improves focus
– Develops determination and self-discipline
– challenge to go outside of their comfort zone
– Reduces stress and provides a method of relaxation
– Breath work provides athlete with techniques they can use whilst competing to control arousal levels
– Teaches you to use imagery and how to relax
– Helps athletes to understand the importance of relaxing, resting, and recovering