The gauntlet has been thrown down. How is yoga different from stretching?
In our first training session on Sunday, one of the athletes asked how yoga was different than stretching. In case you are wondering the same thing, we’ll address this here.
Our motto at Yoga Athletex, is “mindfully moving”. We are intentional with our movements. Having intent while moving, means turning inward and allowing the breath to guide your movements. Breathing will help with relaxation, but also with getting deeper into your muscles. Yoga means to link the body with the breath. With regular stretching, there is a lack of intention. As athletes, we are often told to stretch because “it’s good for you.” And, that is true! Stretching is good for you. But yoga offers a platform to invite intention, focus, breath and stabilization. We’re not just counting to 10 on each side to go through the motions.
Yoga differs from standard stretching in that it requires the athlete to stabilize specific muscle joints. By stabilizing the joints, we are increasing dynamic range of motion. This time also offers a mental break for the athletes as they focus on stabilizing muscle joints as opposed to power moves. A sound yoga practice reduces onset muscle soreness and reverses muscle imbalances caused from sport specific training. Having an intelligent yoga program will reduce pain and muscle cramps during competition. Yoga can accomplish improvement as simple as improved posture or as complex as increased athletic performance. By stabilizing the muscles, we are providing the athletes with the necessary tools to be more aware of their bodies on the court. Which in turn, increases performance both physically and mentally. (Melott, 2014)
As a yoga instructor and retired volleyball player, I got to see things from a different perspective this week. I was on the other side, coaching and training high school athletes. I remember what it felt like, what I was thinking, and how much I didn’t know about my body. My goal for all the young athletes out there is to really dig deep and no matter how weird breathing seems, to really give it an honest shot. It will improve your game and mental capacity ten-fold. If any of the skyline girls are reading this know this: “The difference is the incorporation of breath consciousness and present-moment awareness,” says Ginny Kauffman, a yoga instructor in Portland, Oregon.
As your instructors, we are here to serve your game and give you that “head edge” by mindfully moving you to peak performance.