Five Reasons Athletes Should Practice Yoga

Learn why stepping into the yoga studio can help you step up your training during the off-season.

Try stepping into the studio during your offseason: Yoga can complement just about any athlete’s training. Warm up, cool down or build strength and flexibility with this centuries-old practice.

Learn how yoga can help improve your mind and body for game day:

1. It Strengthens Your Core

Core strength is essential for athletes of all sports and skill levels. And yoga has a particular emphasis on the core — a variety of standing and sitting poses specifically engage the abdominals.

Yoga can also make for a great cross-training workout. Movement that strengthens the core also trains connected muscle groups, including the back and glutes. Most yoga practices help build long, lean muscle mass and functional strength throughout the body.

2. It Improves Flexibility

Ballerinas and linebackers alike can benefit from improved balance. Yoga poses, or asanas, promote proper body alignment and posture. Every asana requires you to center yourself and maintain your position.

3. It Increases Balance

It’s common knowledge that stretching can help prevent injury and help enhance range of movement. Power yoga can strengthen the body while boosting flexibility — many asanas work a variety of joints, tendons and ligaments to achieve full-body flexibility.

4. It’s Great for Recovery

Distance runners, cyclists and endurance athletes of all stripes can benefit from yoga warmups and cool-downs. Slower, restorative yoga practices can help relieve muscle tension and soreness. Deep breathing can help calm the body after the adrenaline rush of game day.

5. It Helps Mental Focus

Yoga can prepare your mind for challenging situations. Yogis learn to quiet their thoughts, center their focus and control their breathing. Meditative yoga can help you achieve a penetrating mental clarity that can better your game on the playing field.