6 Reasons why athletes & sportspersons practice yoga

Posted on Nov 27, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

1. Improved flexibility Runners_of_the_2013_London_Marathon_(31)

Whatever the sport, running, rock climbing, football, mountain biking or martial arts, to name a few, the repetition of movement over long, hard training sessions create tired and tense muscles & stiff joints. The more tension one has around that joint, the more energy is required to facilitate the movement. Keeping the joints flexible allows maximum performance with the most energy conservation. Yoga poses & sequences with the integration of correct breathing will improve muscular flexibility, elasticity and joint motion.

2. Strength

Whilst athletes have obvious strength in specific muscle groups that are developed in their chosen sport, several muscle groups are under-utilized. Yoga will help to increase & enhance core body stability and will strengthen the supportive but otherwise under-developed muscles, thus creating a more balanced and optimally functional overall strength.

rock_climbing_170x1503. Stability & Balance

Many sport activities are dominant on one side of the body & this mechanical dominance can create musculoskeletal imbalances, that can lead to injuries. Regular yoga practice will increase the body’s balance and coordination which will strengthen the control you have over your body, thus reducing imbalances.

4. Mental focus

  1. Regular yoga practice will focus your mind by drawing your attention away from external stimulii. With the continuous flow of instructions through the class, yoga guides the mind to switch off from it’s usual bombardment of thoughts. Training the mind to focus on the task in hand, the moment, instils calm, focus, confidence, willpower & belief in oneself. Superb preparation for competing athletes.triathlon image

5. Improved breathing function

Yoga postures & sequences, have been shown to improve breathing mechanics and lung capacity. As the body moves and settles in a pose, like cobra or sphinx it stretches and projects the chest forward and creates a natural desire to breath fully and deeply. Focused breathing exercises (pranayama) develop one’s ability to maximize function of all breathing mechanisms (diaphragm and intercostal breathing). Maximal lung health is vital for all sportsmen, especially for those who partake in aerobic-based sports and require efficient lungs to deliver sufficient oxygen uptake.

6. Relaxation

To know how to relax properly is more beneficial than sleeping. Relaxation in yoga terms comes in the form of Yoga Nidra, a conscious relaxation. By following a series of verbal instructions, you switch of all the external senses except the ‘auditory’. Your inner sense of awareness remains for you to experience calmness & quiet in your physical body and mind. The slowing down of the minds thoughts and the release in tension within the body promotes recovery and healing together with preservation of energy, helping you to be ‘race ready’ .


A selection of feedback follows from Athletes & Sportspersons currently training with Empowering Yoga, either in group classes or private 1-2-1 sessions.

“Depending on my needs and race schedule every session is different. Yoga became essential in my training because by increasing my balance and flexibility, I’m reducing the risk of injuries….. As well it helps me to remain calm under pressure and to keep my focus before and during the race….” Read more

Thomas Blanc – Elite Obstacle Racer – Spartan UK Champion 2013

“I started doing yoga to help improve my flexibility for Capoeira….. not only was it improving my flexibility, I found that the little niggles and injuries that I sustained at Capoeira and playing football just melted away! ……incredibly relaxing at the end of a stressful day at work. I highly recommend the class …. ” Read more

Milan Tailor

“I have been attending Jo’s classes for nearly a term now and I am really feeling the benefits. I am a fitness instructor myself teaching Pilates, Kettlebells, Running and Personal Training, but I found myself at Jo’s class having wanted to practice yoga for a while, regain some lost flexibility and gain some ‘me’ time. ….” Read more

Dee Clayton – Personal Trainer, Pilates Instructor

“Yoga, as I found out, is not only about flexibility (a lot of people have this idea, as I did not very long ago), it also builds strength in a different way than the other sports, using different muscles.  It also teaches how we should breath correctly according to our body movements, which, when we concentrate, we find we forget to do…… ” Read more

Alexandra Merisoiu – Personal Trainer, practices martial arts and obstacle course racing




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