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Improve Sports Performance with Yoga!

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Yoga seems like a light muscle stretching activity with different delicate moves, but it is a creative way to get strength and resistance training by doing the high range of motion and balance with more workouts. Yoga exercises can help athletes in improving their efficiency, breathing techniques, flexibility, core strength, balance, and endurance.

Athletes like Pete Sampras, Serena Williams, and also NFL team members from Miami Dolphins and New York Giants practice power yoga poses to improve their performance.

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Yoga exercises help in increasing strength, stamina, flexibility, balance and focus. Sometimes too much stretch also creates an imbalance.

Athletes of different sports need regular yoga exercises to improve their performance. Here are some descriptions of these.

Running

As runners strike their bodies on different hard surfaces, they get injury or gorge in the muscles and tendons of the legs, feet, hips and low back. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana  (Pigeon pose) is a good yoga pose which stretches muscles like hip flexors, the gluteals and the piriformis, psoas, low-back, and groin. Virabhadrasana 1 ( warrior pose 1) is also good for runners as it elongates the Achilles tendons and soleus muscles. For lengthening the hamstrings Parsvottanasana is good.

Tennis

The excess practice of tennis decreases suppleness of the back and torso of the players and also reduces the strength in their shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Prasarita Padottanasana helps in spreading the legs wide and bending forward is best for opening the shoulders. Utkatasana  (chair pose) is another good choice for tennis players as it strengthens the abdominal muscles and stretches the Achilles tendons, calves and spinal column. Virabhadrasana 2  (warriors pose 2), increases strength and balance in the lower part of the body.

Golf

Golfers require regular twist for their body in one direction. To get expertise in the sport of golf you need enough strength in the entire upper body. Utthita Trikonasana (triangle pose) and Bhujangasana or cobra pose help Golfers in strengthening and bending the spine.  The twisting yoga pose, Ardha Matsyendrasana (pretzel pose) increases strength, flexibility, and stability of the body.

Cycling

Cyclists always have very tight hips and hamstrings. Due to excess bending of the low back, cyclists require yoga which can make the spine flexible, and also stretches that deal with the spinal curvature to increase circulation around the lower vertebrae. Like swimmers, Cyclists get most of the benefits from poses like Bhujangasana (cobra pose) and Dhanurasana (bow pose) as these lengthen the back and open the chest. Similarly, Ustrasana or camel pose is also good for these athletes as hands touch on the sacrum rather than reaching to the heels. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or pigeon pose is the best one to stretch tight hips and hamstrings.

Skiing

Skiers most of the time get injuries in their low back and knees. They also get overdeveloped quadriceps, weak and tight hamstrings. Therefore, the athletes need to strengthen the joints and muscles of the low back, knees and posterior legs by practicing specific yoga poses. Utthita Trikonasana (triangle pose), Modified Virabhadrasana 3 (modified warrior pose 3), Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose) and Supta Padangusthasana (supine hand-to-big-toe pose) are some good stretches for skiers.

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