Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Yoga For Athletic Performance

Yoga isn't just about stretching, breathing and relaxation, although those aspects are incredibly beneficial to athletes and well, anyone for that matter.  But yoga has much more to offer athletes at any age, level and sport.  Across the world, countless athletes are engaging in regular yoga practice to help improve their athletic performance.  Anyone from youth, novice, collegiate and professional athletes are seeing the benefits of yoga translate to improved training and increased performance, giving them the competitive edge.  Below is a list of some great benefits of incorporating yoga into your training regime and how it can improve athletic performance.

Injury Prevention
Regardless of the sport, all athletes put a lot of repetitive stress on their bodies, and over time, this stress can cause muscular imbalances.  When muscles become tight due this imbalance, they become more susceptible to injury, not just to the muscle but the surrounding tissues as well.  So it’s to the benefit of any athlete to have more pliability and flexibility to prevent injuries.  Yoga is designed to work the muscles around the joints for stability as well as to gain full mobility and rotation in the joints, making an athlete more fluid with their movement, thus preventing injury.

Improved Body Awareness
There is quite a bit of focus on balance during yoga.  Improving our balance helps improve our proprioception.  Proprioception is the awareness of our body in its position in space, as well as the direction and speed of its movement.  During yoga, we continually gain an understanding of our bodies and how we move in relation to other parts of our body and our environment.  This understanding of anatomy and body mechanics not only improves our balance, but also helps with reaction time and aids in injury prevention.

Improved Core Strength
A strong core not only protects our spine but also provides a solid foundation for the functional movements used in the weight room and on the playing field.  Through focusing on breath, movement and poses, yoga helps strengthen these core muscles, which of course helps improve overall strength and power.

Increased Power
Proper form is key in the weight room and during any athletic event.   Power, strength, and speed are directly related to proper body-mechanics.  When our body is properly aligned, we can transmit force much more efficiently and perform better across the board.  Yoga places so much emphasis on optimal body alignment, thus helping increase power and force production during training, practice and of course during competition.

Improved Endurance
Regardless of whether you are a marathoner or football player, stamina plays an important role in all types of sports and athletic events.  Yoga has been known to help improve circulation as well as increase respiratory capacity, which translates to improved endurance.  Having long lasting energy is important to finishing healthy and strong, whether that is crossing the finish line or outperforming your opponent in the fourth quarter!

How to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Training Regimen
Because yoga uses your own body weight and no external load, it can essentially be performed every day.  I often suggest to beginners to start with a simple DVD at home or in a gentle yoga class at a studio.  (Of course always be sure to consult your physician and coach prior to engaging in any new physical activity).  Due to school, sports practice, work and training, many of our athletes who train in our facility are not left with much time to practice yoga.  So we incorporate various poses and sequences into their workouts to focus on key areas for athletic performance.  If time is an issue for you, consider doing a few poses during your warm up and cool down.  Even if it is just 1-2 times per week, incorporating yoga into your training regimen will offer benefits listed above, helping you to perform at the top of your game!

If you have any additional questions on yoga for performance or run training, contact Coach Christina today.  Also, be sure to follow along her journey and stay up today on her latest blog posts on her Instagram page.



  1. I have been better about doing yoga every week. I go on youtube and choose the practice I want for that day: hip openers, neck and spine, relaxation, there's literally every type of yoga I need. It's great!

    1. Awesome, it's great to hear you're able to get your yoga in weekly, and you are so right about YouTube, it is a great resource!

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