You do not have to look too far and one will notice that YOGA is in the headlines for cross-fit training. Yoga is currently used in all the major sports and frequently written about in Health & Wellness articles for the cross-training benefits that it provides for athletes. For those of us that practice yoga on regular basis this should come as no surprise. After all, yoga is over 4000 years old and has established roots. It is not a fad or something new, rather it is a discipline that provides harmony for the mind, body and soul. For those that have not experienced yoga, they need to take a closer look. They are missing out on some real improvements to their core strength, flexibility, range of motion, balance and breathing, not mentioning, injury prevention.
BENEFITS OF CROSS TRAINING WITH YOGA
Re-learn to Breath
If you participate competitively in sport or simply join the occasional fun run on a whim you are aware of the impact breathing can have on performance. Deep, relaxed breathing is the foundation of reducing performance anxiety and improving concentration. Yoga will help you develop a habit of breathing correctly. Yoga practice integrations the mind-body connection and athletes can benefit from this combination of skills training.
Increase Core Strength
Yoga poses are all about building core strength. The slow, focused movements require a strong mid-section and the isometric contractions of many exercises will add a new form of resistance training to your typical machine-based workouts.
Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion
Yoga routines incorporate slow, steady flexibility exercise that is ideal for athletes. Frequent yoga training may increase flexibility, and range of motion while relieving muscle tension. Whether you are a runner or a golfer, improved range of motion can often help improve performance.
Yoga is a perfect way to incorporate balance exercises into your training routine. Balance exercises are often overlooked by athletes, but are one of the most effective ways to correct muscle imbalance or body mechanic problems. With most sports and weight training routines you tend to perform repetitive motions that develop some muscle groups while others are ignored. Yoga can fix these imbalances.
It’s Great Cross Training
Yoga is a great low-impact way to cross train. Cross training is necessary for athletes who do the same sport or exercise routine year-round. Adding new exercises can help reduce injury, relieve training boredom, add variety and help recover from hard aerobic or strength workouts. Yoga can be done at a high or low intensity and there are hundreds of postures that can provide a workout for any athletic need.
Yoga has something for Everyone
There are many styles of yoga that range from very dynamic, active, movements that go from one posture to another (and result in a thorough aerobic workout) to more slow-paced practices that hold postures for several minutes and form an intense strength training and balance workout.
Become Aware & Balanced
As aspect of yoga that is often ignored is the fact that yoga creates a unique awareness and harmony with you and your body. Whether you practice gentle yoga or up-tempo vinyasa routines, you become connected with your body. You learn to identify your edge and limitations. By practicing yoga on a regular basis you will see improvement. It is not by brute force either, rather in a slow and soft manner. This benefit creates a very unique balance and understanding with you and your body. This awareness combined with the calming nature of yoga allows the body to perform in a natural and safe manner.
Tony Horton (P90X2) On yoga: “Yoga is the glue… yoga is the magic. If your joints and connective tissue are crap, you can’t perform with speed and agility and balance.”