Yoga for Athletes

Great Cross Training

Whether you are a marathoner, road cyclist,  swimmer, rock climber, power walker, basketball player, ping pong champion or weekend warrior, cross training is a necessary component not only for reaching ultimate athletic performance but more importantly for reducing the possibilities of injury.

Common Athletic Injuries:

  • Iliotibial band syndrome,
  • Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Anterior cruciate ligament injury
  • Sprained Ankle

Adding yoga to your fitness routine can assist in reducing possible injury, relieve weekly training boredom  and aid in recovery from hard aerobic workouts or strength training.

Athens Marathon Runner Tony Eason

Athens Marathon #Bib 12343 | Tony Eason

Increase Flexibility & NO Lower Back Pain

Iyengar Yoga & Yin Yoga classes incorporate slow, steady stretches that are beneficial to any athlete. By consistently attending weekly yoga classes, one will notice an increased flexibility & range of motion. An improved range of motion can often improve muscle performance.

If yoga postures are done directly after athletic training one receives muscle tension relief.

Cyclist Tony Eaon in Soulcraft Bike Kit

Develop Deep & Relaxed Breathing

Whether you are a triathlete, ultra-marathoner, competitive swimmer or annual Turkey Trot participant;  you are aware of the impact breathing can have on an athlete’s performance.

The yogic practice of pranayama has found the following correlations:

  • Inhalation of the Breath =  parasympathetic nervous system
  • Exhalation of the Breath = sympathetic nervous system

A yoga teacher can aid you in developing a habit of breathing efficiently.

Yoga teacher tony eason at Crunch Gym Yerba Buena, San Francisco
Yoga Teacher, Tony Eason | Crunch Gym, San Francisco

Improved Balance

Yoga classes are an effective ways to correct muscle imbalance or body mechanic problems. With most sports and weight training routines you tend to perform repetitive motions that develop some muscle groups while others are ignored. Yoga classes can fix these imbalances

Yoga - Dandasana

Dandasana – “This asana gives relief to persons who feel a bloating sensation in the abdomen due to gas and also to those suffering from gastric complaints. It reduces fat around the waistline and tones the kidneys. ”

Virasana – “This pose cures rheumatic pains in the knees and gout, and is also good for flat feet. Due to the stretching of the ankles and the feet, proper arches will be formed. This however, takes a long time and requires daily practice of the pose for a few minutes for several months. Those suffering from pain in the heels or growth of calcaneal spurs will get relief and the spurs will gradually disappear.”

Tadasana -“People do not pay attention to the correct method of standing. Some stand with the body weight thrown only on one leg, or with one leg turned completely sideways. Others bear all the weight on the heels, or on the inner or outer edges of the feet. This can be noticed by watching where the soles and heels of the shoes wear out. Owing to our faulty method of standing and not distributing the body weight evenly on the feet, we acquire specific deformities which hamper spinal elasticity. Even if the feet are kept apart, it is better to keep the heel and toe in a line parallel to the median plane and not at an angle. By this method, the hips are contracted, the abdomen is pulled in and the chest is brought forward. One feels light in body and the mind acquired agility. If we stand with the body weight thrown only on the heels, we feel the gravity changing; the hips become loose, the abdomen protrudes, the body hangs back and the spine feels the strain and consequently we soon feel fatigued and the mind becomes dull. It is therefore essential to master the art of standing correctly.”

Padahastasana – “The abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase, while the liver and spleen are activated. Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practicing these two asanas .”

Uttanasana – “This asana cures stomach pain and tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys. It also relieves stomach pain during menstrual periods. The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds the pose for two minutes or more.”

Chaturanga Dandasana – “This pose strengthens the arms and the wrists develop mobility and power. It also contracts and tones the abdominal organs.”

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – “The pose rejuvenates the spine and is specially recommended for people suffering from a stiff back. The movement is good for persons with lumbago, sciatica and those suffering from slipped or prolapsed discs of the spine. The pose strengthens the spine and cures backaches (reduces lower back pain). Due to chest expansion, the lungs gain elasticity. The blood circulates properly in the pelvic region and keeps it healthy.”

Adho Mukha Svanasana – “When one is exhausted, a longer stay in this pose removes fatigue and brings back the lost energy. The pose is especially good for runners who get tired after a hard race. Sprinters will develop speed and lightness in the legs. The pose relieves pain and stiffness in the heels and helps to soften calcaneal spurs. It strengthens the ankles and makes the legs shapely. The practice of this asana helps to eradicate stiffness in the region of the shoulder-blades, and arthritis of the shoulder joints is relieved. The abdominal muscles are drawn towards the spine and strengthened. As the diaphragm is lifted to the chest cavity the rate of the heart beat is slowed down. It rejuvenates the brain cells and invigorates the brain by relieving fatigue.”

Jathara Parvivartanasana – “This asana is good for reducing excess fat. It tones and eradicates sluggishness of the liver, spleen and pancreas. It also cures gastritis and strengthens the intestines. By it’s regular practice all the abdominal organs are kept in trim. It helps to relieve sprains and catches in the lower back (lower back pain) and the hip region.”

Malasana II – “By doing this posture the abdominal organs are exercised and gain strength. Ladies suffering from severe pain in the back during the menstrual period will obtain relief in this pose and the back will feel soothed (reduces lower back pain).”

Janu Sirsasana – “This asana tones the abdominal organs, the kidneys and adrenal glands. Persons suffering from spleen aliments and from enlargement of the prostate gland will benefit by staying in this pose longer. It cures indigestion.”

+

Paschimottanasana – “This asana tones the abdominal organs and keeps them free from sluggishness. It also tones the kidneys, rejuvenates the whole spine and improves the digestion. The spines of animals are horizontal and their hearts are below the spine. This keeps them healthy and gives them great power of endurance. In humans the spine is vertical and the heart is not lower than the spine, so that they soon feel the effects of exertion and are also susceptible to the heart diseases. In Pachimottanasana the spine is kept straight and horizontal and the heart is at a lower level than the spine. A good stay in this pose massages the heart, the spinal column and the abdominal organs, which feel refreshed and the mind is rested.”

Savasana – “Verse 32 of the First Chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika states: “Lying upon one’s back on the ground at full length like a corpse is called Savasana . This removes the fatigue caused by other asanas and induces calmness of the mind.”

*The asanas (postures) in this sample “yoga for athletes” sequence were chosen based on their postural affects (quoted from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar).

[ Return to Yoga San Francisco Homepage ]

[ad#ynot]