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Yoga for Athletes: It’s All About Balance

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Yoga poses or asana, have been around for thousands of years and the benefit and functionality of Yoga poses has been far underestimated in the athletic world. With regular Yoga practice, sport performance will improve by means of increased mobility and body awareness. When we think about sport specific training, athletes that do well are mobile, strong and powerful and have good posture. Clyde Smith, a founding physiotherapist for the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Center at the University of British Columbia states that you "won't see a great athlete with poor posture" so we must acknowledge good posture as part of the performance equation.

Yoga asana, especially taught with the YogaFit Seven Principles of Alignment, reinforce healthy posture and improve mobility especially through the hips and shoulders in a safe and effective manner. Athletes often develop tight areas in their bodies due to overuse. Yoga offers an alternative way to exercise, or engage in active rest to help balance out the body front to back, left and right avoiding imbalances or asymmetries. Ustrasana or Camel pose, for example, will offset the excessive forward flexion in cycling or speed skating. A well-designed Yoga program, used in conjunction with sport specific training gives an athlete the ability to perform well and perform long. Yoga teaches us how to work with existing training strategies to enhance sport specific demands and ensure appropriate rest and recovery.

Competition is a part of an athlete’s world and for some, competition feeds our motivation to do our best or even push ourselves beyond their limits. On the mat, however, there is no finish line, there are no judges, nor are there any competitors. The mat is essentially our individual podium with a gold medal win every time from the point we unroll the mat to when we roll it back up.