Unless you live under a rock, you know about yoga. And if you are athletic, you have probably been asked or recommended yoga and just smiles and nodded and went about your business. I mean, for a high energy athlete, yoga can be kind boring sometimes, so why is it so good?
Yoga combines my two favorite things when it comes to injury prevention: breathing and positioning.
Really cool things happen to your body when you learn to breathe properly. In fact, most people are overbreathers. Yoga helps slow your respiration rate, improve gas exchange, and calm your nervous system. And that will directly impact your power, speed, and overall strength because when your muscles get more oxygen, they work better. If you want to learn more about this, I got a little more in depth in this article about the diaphragm.
Positioning is also super important when it comes to injury prevention. The “perfect body” can move all joints within their full range of motion. Of course, in reality that’s not the case as there are always areas that are more restricted than others. When you play your sport, you use one hand more/differently than another. You turn or push off more with one foot. Yoga helps restore equilibrium between muscle groups. This helps you get closer to that “perfect movement.”
So next time you turn your nose up at yoga, maybe you should give it a go and experience the challenge in it. Your body likes high intensity activity, but also likes to be calm sometimes. Some of your joints could use a tune up when it comes to range of motion, and yoga just could be the tool that gets you that little bit faster, stronger, and better.