Performance Yoga: How can yoga help athletic performance?4 Opinions
As a Yoga Teacher, Trainee Sport Psychologist, and English Champion of Olympic Weightlifting, I know how yoga can help athletes to maximise their physical and psychological potential and improve their performance.
I use yoga regularly as part of my own training and teach Performance Yoga to a variety of athletes from national swimmers, and championship league football teams, to competitive strong men and rugby players. Performance Yoga is geared toward the unique needs of athletes. It combines yoga, breath work, and flexibility and mobility training to maximise athletic performance.
By taking into consideration the repetitive stresses athletes place on their bodies as well as the psychological pressures of competitive sport, Performance Yoga focuses on taking movement and mobility, awareness and concentration, and anxiety reduction and stress-management skills to a new level. By working with physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and other members of the sport science team, Performance Yoga is fast becoming a training tool many professional sports teams are using to maximise performance.
All sessions are sport-specific and are customised to suit each individual athlete or team and their skill level. This can be run as a one-off introductory workshop or rehab session or, to get the most benefit, as regular classes one to three times a week.
- Increase suppleness through stretching muscles
- Improves joint mobility by lengthening ligaments to their healthy limits
- Reduces risk of injury and assists with injury rehabilitation
- Effective as a form of soft tissue and collagen fibre rehabilitation
- Helps to bring the body back into alignment and improves posture
- Increases stride length
- Enhances co-ordination and agility
- Contributes to improved cardiovascular fitness and stamina
- Teaches athletes how the body performs and functions as a synergistic unit
- Lowers resting heart rate and increases VO2 max
- Relieves performance anxiety and stress, and frees athletes from mental distractions
- Improves focus
- Develops determination and self-discipline
- Teaches athletes to challenge themselves and 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
- Helps athletes to achieve flow and get in ‘the zone’
- Teaches athletes how to use imagery and relaxation
- Helps athletes to understand the importance of relaxing, resting, and recovering
- Improves team cohesion
- Increases team motivation
- Provides an opportunity for team unity outside the demands of intense training
- Increases trust
- Improves player-player support
If you are interested incorporating Performance Yoga into your training or would like a workshop for your athletes then please get in touch with Nicola on Nicola@MindMuscleYoga.com or visit www.MindMuscleYoga.com.
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About Nicola Hobbs
Nicola is an Olympic Weightlifting Yogi with an MSc in Sport Psychology. She specialises in yoga for athletes and using exercise as a tool for healing. Her first book, Yoga Gym: The 28 day plan for strength, flexibility and fat loss, will be out in January 2016