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The Benefits of Yoga for Those That Play Sport

The benefits of yoga to sportsmen and women are well-documented and plenty of famous athletes practice yoga to improve their performance and give them that extra edge – stars such as LeBron James, Novak Djokovic and Lionel Messi all incorporate yoga into their training routines – why?

Yoga regulates breathing: Learning to control your breathing and to be more mindful about what your body is telling you will sharpen your focus and increase oxygen intake. Because the different yoga postures coordinate breath with movements it is an ideal complement to other forms of exercise, such as jogging, running, and cycling.

Yoga increases flexibility: Sustained stretching and contraction of the muscle groups in the postures and the deep breathing involved help to maximise flexibility. It’s a great way to loosen up and at the same time, energize the body and calm the mind. It also works as a cool-down to ease post-game soreness.

Yoga corrects imbalance: Many sports activities build muscle in specific areas of the body. For example, golfers only swing in one direction, stretching one side of the body; cyclists are bent over handlebars for long periods putting strain on the back - practicing yoga stretches the muscles and eases muscular tension on the affected muscle groups, while it regulates the other muscle groups that are less often used.

Yoga lessens the risk of injury: Yoga is used in endurance and military training because it increases athletes’ oxygen intake capacity and increases strength and elasticity. Yoga can help in recuperating from injury and long term, decrease the rate of injuries suffered.

Yoga helps with reaction times: Those playing strenuous sports such as tennis and football can benefit from yoga as is encourages more focused movements and facilitates faster reactions to the ball. It also improves the flexibility and mobility of the hips and shoulders, which are crucial to these games.

Yoga focuses the mind: Besides the functional strength and flexibility yoga offers it also increases mental clarity. As a form of meditation, yoga can increase resilience, improve the ability to withstand stress and help athletes cope with long and punishing practice session or games.

The Tree Room is proud to offer a regular yoga course aimed specifically at sportspeople, run by Maria, who has been teaching yoga for 10 years. She has worked for the NHS for 8 years, in both musculo-skeletal rehabilitation and cardiac rehabilitation and offers stress and back pain management workshops to businesses. Maria also has three football mad kids who have all (grudgingly) benefited from injury reduction and rehabilitation through yoga! She is passionate about the benefits of yoga for sportsmen and women and looking forward to welcoming you to the class in October. Click here for dates and timings.

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