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The benefits of yoga for athletic performance

Yoga is for everyone, especially fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Anyone who likes to engage in physical activity could benefit significantly from adding yoga to their workout schedule. 

While weightlifting addicts might find yoga too light, a periodic session could benefit them in countless ways. With so many yoga poses out there for all levels, everyone looking for a way to improve their athletic performance can find moves suitable to them. 

Yoga is firstly beneficial for your health because it helps people clear their minds and strengthens both the body and mind. And the best part is that it can be performed as a stand-alone or integrated into your current fitness routine. 

What is yoga?

Yoga is a form of exercise originating from Asia split into several types of practices like vinyasa, Hatha, and Ashtanga, each with its particular characteristics and purposes. Yoga usually implies moving your body to form particular moves that encourage mindfulness while managing your breathing. Yoga is different from other forms of fitness because its goal is to promote harmony between body and mind. It’s both a form of exercise and meditation, and therefore, it has several benefits. 

In Sanskrit, yoga means “to unite”, which implies creating a connection between the mind and the body and living in the moment. Yoga sessions reduce stress, bring calmness and relaxation, strengthen the mind-body connection, improve self-discipline, maintain youthful muscles, and increase arteries circulation. 

Athletes usually focus on muscle growth exercises and do spot training and often ignore the benefits of a full-body workout. However, yoga practice can boost physical fitness in several ways because it increases concentration power and lowers stress. Let’s explore the ways in which yoga benefits fitness enthusiasts.  

Yoga improves strength and flexibility

A regular yoga session doesn’t require the use of weights, but it still helps the body build muscle mass. A series of yoga poses require you to tone and stretch some muscles, which will boost your bone health, posture, and muscular endurance in time. When moving into yoga poses, you must use your lower body, upper body, and core strength to maintain stability for prolonged periods. Depending on your fitness level, you might find that some yoga poses can give you the same feeling as performing strenuous exercise for minutes because it pushes your muscle endurance to its limits. 

Practising yoga consistently will enhance your core stability and strength because the poses target muscle groups you under-utilise when lifting weights or doing cardio. If you strengthen neglected muscles as your core, you provide more support to major muscle groups and encourage them to function optimally. 

Yoga helps you maintain healthy joints

Sliding into yoga poses requires your muscles and joints to move because you need to rotate, extend, and flex your muscles to achieve particular moves. If you mobilise the joints, you encourage the flow of synovial fluid, which lubricates them and makes it smoother for bones to move. 

Because yoga requires moving your joints intensively, you prevent the stiffness associated with age and the bad posture you could get from spending long periods in front of the computer. Besides, yoga also helps you control the available range of motion in joints to lower the risk of injury and improve posture. 

Yoga balances your chakras

The chakra is the energy centre in your body that regulates bodily functions and balances your emotions. There are seven chakras in your body, each governing a particular part and associated with one or more organs. An imbalance in your chakra could trigger several health issues, so keeping them in a harmonious state to enjoy internal and external wellbeing is best. Yoga poses balance your chakras and boosts the peace within. If you teach yoga classes and want to help your clients balance their energy centres, purchase chakra stones from a gemstone wholesaler and offer them to your class attendees to make it easier for them to stimulate their chakras.  

Yoga strengthens your immune system

Inflammation can make you skip workout sessions because you feel too sore to hit the gym. Certain yoga poses can support your immune system and increase your lymphatic circulation to relieve inflammation. Yoga is also a great way to fight habitual inactivity, which is associated with an increased risk of chronic health problems like deep vein thrombosis and obesity. 

Yoga improves your flexibility and balance

Coordination and balance are paramount for preventing injuries and boosting fitness performance. Yoga improves your coordination, balance, and concentration because it requires you to get into and hold particular poses for longer periods. When you boost your balance, you lower your risk of injuries and falls and elevate your exercising techniques. 

Some yoga poses also challenge your flexibility. You need increased muscle and joint flexibility to improve your range of motion. 

Yoga improves your sleep

An impediment to seeing fitness results is the lack of enough or quality sleep each night. When you cannot sleep well at night, you can experience several mental and physical health issues. Yoga boosts the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. The more melatonin your body produces, the easier you’ll find it to fall asleep and rest at night. 

You could also find it difficult to sleep comfortably because you experience frequent neck or back pain. Yoga could naturally provide chronic pain relief because it improves inflammation by relaxing your muscles. 

Yoga improves stress, anxiety, and depression

Besides making it easier to fall asleep and rest at night, yoga can improve mental health and alleviate the symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and depression. Your mental health can impact your fitness performance, and it’s crucial to address it before it deters your results. Yoga is a form of meditation that promotes mindful breathing, stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. Deep breathing can alleviate symptoms of anxiety like rapid heart rate and hyperventilation. Because it releases serotonin in your body, it can also help you improve depression symptoms. 

As a fitness enthusiast, you can train to develop certain muscle groups while ignoring others, and yoga helps you counter this issue and maintain an overall body balance. 

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Owner of Personal Trainer, Father and fitness copy writer. Working hard making the world fitter and healthier!

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