When we talk about sports and sportsmen, the first thing that comes into mind is how to cope up with injuries which is a part and parcel of any sportsman. Athletes generally tend to do too much with their body while training. Here therapeutic yoga plays an important role in order to keep them fit and fine and to a big extent injury-free. Yoga helps in building muscles, improve flexibility, and prevent injuries, which is a main reason why many athletes prefer it and practice it regularly. Additionally, it helps in relaxing the mind. After starting yoga, some benefits which an athlete might notice are:
- Increased flexibility and range of motion.
- Improvement in balance and strength.
- Reduced stress and anxiety.
Yoga for Athletes: 5 Best Poses
The following yoga poses are especially formulated for athletes so as to address the common areas of injury and muscle tightness. These poses enhance whether you are a beginning runner, strength-training buff, or tennis fanatic, these poses go a long way in enhancing your skills and raise level of your game.
Yoga Triangle Pose or Trikona-Asana for Hip Stretching in Athletes
This pose targets tightness in hips. It helps in stretching hip, groin, chest as well as shoulder. It also improves strength of knees, thighs, as well as ankles. It also helps in relieving stress and improves digestion.
In this, stand with feet wide. Turn right foot outward by about 90-degrees so that the toes are pointing to edge of your yoga mat. The center of right kneecap should be in alignment with center of right ankle. Now, pivot the left foot a little bit inward. Raise the arms to side at shoulder height such that they become parallel to floor. Now, take deep breath and when exhaling reach through right hand in same direction as the right foot is pointed, shift the left hip back, and bend over at right hip. Keep the left leg engaged and press outer heel firmly to floor. Rest the right hand on outside part of shin and ankle. Now stretch left arm towards ceiling. The head should be kept neutral. Take a few slow breaths.
Yoga Downward Dog Pose or Adho-Mukha Asana To Help Athletes Cope With Tight Hamstrings
This pose targets the hamstrings which may become tight. It also stretches hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. It also strengthens arms and legs. It also helps in relieving headaches and fatigue.
For this pose, you need to come on hands and knees with hands exactly below shoulders and knees below hips. Try and spread fingers wide, put in toes under. With inhalation, lift knees off of floor, pressing hips upward. Draw heels down to floor or keep knees slightly bent. Press hands firmly in yoga mat, then draw shoulder blades downwards. The head should be between arms and not hanging. Now, take deep breaths.
Yoga Cat Cow Pose or Majari-Asana Helps Athletes Cope With Sore Back Muscles
This pose targets tight and sore back muscles. This pose stretches back, torso, neck. It also gently massages spine and helps in relieving tension in upper part of body.
In this, you need to come on your hands and knees with your hands directly below shoulders and knees directly below hips. Now, take a deep breath so as to lengthen the spine. Now, without bending elbows or moving hips, roll the spine in order to arch the back. Lift chin, chest, and hips upward, thereby allowing the stomach to sink towards floor. Once you have reached maximum expression of arch, round up the spine upward and release head downwards. This needs to be done at least 10 times taking deep breaths while doing it.
Yoga Chair Pose or Utkata-Asana Helps Athletes Strengthens the Calves, Ankles, and Thighs
This pose targets fragile or weak ankles. This pose stretches shoulders and chest. It strengthens the calves, ankles, and thighs.
To do this pose, stand with the feet apart by about shoulder width. Take a breath and raise the arms straight out from shoulders but keeping shoulders down and back. Breathe out and bend lower into pose by pushing the hips back and bending the knees as if sitting in a chair. The abdominal muscles need to be kept tight. Maintain this position and take a few deep breaths.
Yoga Eagle Pose or Garuda Asana Helps Athletes Stretch The Shoulders, Upper Back, Thighs, Ankles and Calves
This pose targets tight shoulders. It stretches shoulders, upper back, thighs. It also strengthens ankles and calves. It enhances concentration skills and improves balance.
To do this pose, stand with the feet apart. Now, try to hug your left knee into your chest. Bend the right knee and cross the left leg around right leg, hooking left foot on either side of right leg. Wrap the left arm under right arm. Sit as much as you can and lift up through arms in order to keep balance. Stay in this position for about five long deep breaths. Come out of the pose and do the same thing for the opposite side.