Start Yoga Early
Yoga offers a number of physical, emotional, and psychological benefits. An intelligent yoga practice, when coupled with sport specific training, will increase mental concentration and significantly reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
To improve the physiological longevity of young athletes of any sport, our advice is to get on the mat. Start practicing yoga at a young age, to become familiar with the practice early on. Whatever is learned on the mat, can be used as a tool to overcome fear and stress and promote a healthy mindset for life.
Fear is a common feeling for athletes; fear of losing, fear of failing, fear of injury, fear of the future, fear of letting your teammates down, and fear of letting your fans down. Fear-based play can lead to mistakes. Fear consumes the mind and blocks the ability to perform. Meditation and visualization has been shown to calm the mind, surpassing the feeling of fear located in the amygdala.
Athletes are typically comfortable in high stress situations and often pride themselves on that trait. However, having the ability to reduce stress in any situation can serve as a great tool for the individual athlete and his/her teammates. The lower the stress, the lower the intensity and opportunity for disaster. This also plays into emotion control, as discussed before. The life of an athlete is an emotional rollercoaster. Meditation can serve as a guide to understanding emotions and how to deal with them. This is something that can be embraced during a game or even when deciding which college to sign with.
With a regular visualization, breathing, and meditation practice, an athlete will undoubtedly increase performance on the court/field, increase lung capacity and strengthen the immune system. A steady practice will benefit the athlete individually and his/her team as a whole. All techniques used on the mat can be translated to the court or playing field and thereby enhancing total well being and performance.
Improve Body Awareness
Yoga can also help the athlete feel better about their body by increasing strength, flexibility, and body awareness. As an athlete becomes more in touch with their internal self, the doors of possibility begin to open rapidly. Whether an athlete decides to compete competitively or recreationally, yoga is the tool that is going to get them to the next level safely and soundly. Whatever the reason, get on the mat.
How to get started
We created a Recovery Guide to provide a clear blueprint for incorporating recovery methods (such as yoga, meditation, and breathwork) into into training depending on the athletic season (pre-season, in-season, post-season, and off-season).
By following this guide, athletes will recover faster, move better, and improve their athletic performance.
When you’re ready to start incorporating sport-specific yoga, sign up for a 7-day free trial of YAX Online, choose your sport, select your athletic season, and hit play!
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