Summary: Once considered suited only for skinny models or enlightened hippies, yoga techniques are now making inroads into the sports field.
For professional athletes as well as casual weekend warriors, achieving their best in fitness and performance requires intense focus. Once attained, maintaining that level requires intense practice involving one’s body and mind. Merely striving hard will only make it unsustainable with the inevitable result of a burn out. Yoga in general and SUP yoga teacher training in particular can be a vital tool that can help sports persons attain the perfect balance and maintain endurance.
Once a novelty, Now a regimen
There used to be a time when doing yoga on the water or even a mat was considered a fad. The general perception was of it being suited only for skinny models or enlightened hippies. People were dubious (understandably so) of the ancient Eastern philosophies underpinning yoga and tended to scoff at yoga. Hence it was only natural that athletes were hesitant to embrace this discipline. Admittedly, a yoga studio with soothing music and burning incense doesn’t inspire much confidence in the average macho athlete.
But in spite of that, breath control, mindfulness, and other holistic yoga techniques are making inroads into the sports field. For many, it turned out to be just a matter of finding the right approach.
With star athletes like LeBron James adapting yoga teacher training into their training regimens, quite a few NBA, NFL and MLB teams have augmented yoga to regular training routines. It’s not just a fad, but due to the fact that it works. It also helps that people are more open to alternative methods like SUP yoga training
This trend is in pace with a general shift in the attitude of the whole country as well. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, yoga participation grew from 5.1% of the population to 9.5%, between 2002 and 2012 in America.
The Physical Benefits
The focus on breathing, rhythmic body movements and the overarching concept of mindfulness central results in several benefits. These include increased flexibility, improved balance and posture, eased muscle tension, faster recovery from injuries and heightened aerobic capabilities. Most positions practiced in yoga involves deep stretches and postures that can enhance athletic performance.
With time and practice, SUP yoga improves the overall muscular endurance.Such endurance can improve the performance of athletes by sustaining efficient biomechanics for longer intervals during competition, thus giving them the edge over opponents.
Normal training of athletes tend to be repetitive, working the same muscle groups. Yoga, with its various asanas that focuses on different muscle groups can help shake things up, as also reducing wear and tear. The variation in exercises can help prevent injuries related to overuse and resultant stress on the body.
It’s also about Breathing!
While it is common for those new to yoga training to just go through the motions, in order to attain the correct pose, it goes beyond that. The aspect of corresponding breathing is as important as the fitness part. Yoga advocates sustained and rhythmic breathing from the diaphragm, that draws more oxygen in and pushes more carbon dioxide outwards. Proper breathing can result in heightened aerobic capacity, key for athletic endurance.
Breathing goes beyond just delivering oxygen to the body, Being the only biometric one can control, it has an impact on the heart rate, hormone release and even sweating. Taking control of your breathing can help regulate other functions as well.
During instances when you’re stressed out, your body’s fight-or-flight response kicks in, followed by increased adrenaline and sweating, tensed muscles, and shorter breathes. We are advised to take deep breaths to calm your body and reverse the other processes. Yoga simply takes this principle to a higher level, with SUP yoga in particular.
In yoga practice, proper breathing keeps muscles relaxed, improving the range of motion along with calming the mind. Athletes can use breathing techniques learned in yoga to calm themselves during competitions and not get caught up in the moment. Deep breathing can thus bring one back from a state of stress into a more aware state where they can consciously maximize performance.
Combining Breath, Body and Mind
With the body relaxed and the mind calm, athletes can stand to benefit from most elusive tenet of yoga training: mindfulness. It can be described as “awareness of where you are and the state you are in. Being aware of your body and the state it is in, teaches you about yourself.
That awareness can be very much beneficial in the field. The mindfulness allows you to sense when something is off in the body, and take appropriate remedial measures.