From professional sports teams to high school gym classes, it seems that just about everyone is diving into the practice of yoga. And perhaps, rightfully so. With an emphasis on breathwork, body awareness and increased flexibility, yoga allows individuals of all levels to explore the concept of movement in an entirely new way.
So, how will yoga benefit your training regimen? Read on to find out.
YOGA IMPROVES BODY AWARENESS
In yoga the physical postures, also referred to as “asanas,” help athletes to better understand their bodies. By emphasizing proper alignment, each pose teaches students how to correctly strengthen, lengthen and balance. In addition, enhanced body awareness allows for athletes to eliminate injury causing compensation patterns and improper stretching technique.
YOGA INCREASES MOBILITY
Whether you’re a high level competitor or recreational swimmer, muscle extension is a key component to moving efficiently through the water. Incorporating yoga into your training regimen ensures a consistent focus on lengthening key muscle groups in both the upper and lower parts of the body. Understanding proper stretching technique not only promotes mobility, but also supports an increase in overall flexibility. High intensity cardio training such as running or biking often forces the muscles in the legs to contract. As a result, it is important to utilize softer regimens and stretching practices to prevent potential tightening.
YOGA ENHANCES STRENGTH
When participating in a yoga class, students learn to utilize their own body weight as a form of functional strength training. As athletes complete balance postures and static positional holds, they must engage a variety of muscle groups, especially the core. Strong abdominals are essential to creating power in your stroke. In addition, the natural resistance created by gravity helps to increase overall muscle endurance.
YOGA HELPS TO BOOST MOOD AND EASE ANXIETY
A consistent yoga practice allows for students to hone in on the relationship that exists between body and breath. Given that breathing plays a major role in the sport of swimming, this is especially important for athletes participating in regular aquatic activity. Studies also show that a dedicated yoga practice can have positive effects on both mood and stress response. This is a great advantage for competitors looking to mediate pre-race anxiety in a natural and sustainable way.