Many sports men, athletes and footballers are turning to yoga for many reasons, many sporty types and pro-athletes discover yoga when trying to recover from an injury. But why wait for that to happen, bringing yoga into your routine is going to help prevent those painful injuries and actually improve on your performance. Ryan Gigs from Manchester United says “Yoga helps me so much and I really enjoy it, before yoga I was suffering with tight hamstrings and back that was making me miss 10-12 games a season, now with yoga at 36 it is really helping my game.”
The practice is going to help your motion and flexibility and works through the whole system both physically and mentally. The areas of the body that are ignored during your training get strengthened and become healthier which is going to help support the areas of the body which are overworked. So any imbalances that may occur due to repetitive motion will re-harmonize, the core becomes stronger which is very important in supporting the parts that are taking the most strain. Through a constant yoga practice balance and co-ordination improve greatly but yoga goes beyond and deeper than just stretching tight muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Focusing on the breath as we do during the length of our practice is going to help build stamina, concentration and gives a greater sense of focus. During our yogic postures we can feel all kinds of different sensations, sometimes uncomfortable ones, but using the breath to breathe through the body is going to build on mental strength which in turn will help with more challenging matches, races, work-outs etc., proving that you can go that extra mile with the help of knowing how to use the breath correctly.
And with meditation practices concentration levels are going to increase even more, develop sharpness of mind and also guide us to the ability to relax, which is vital for all of us and really important for bodies which are being pushed that they get the time to rejuvenate, with improved sleep and peace of mind.
So there is every reason for the practice of yoga to really help keep you well both mentally and strong physically so you are ready to perform to your best as do The New Zealand All Blacks whom just pipped the rugby World Cup, Ryan Giggs our beloved Manchester United player, Kevin Garnett the forward for the Boston Celtics, the New York Giants team, Vernon Davis who plays for the San Francisco 49’ers and such UK Football teams as Man City, Bolton, Burnley, Southampton and Derby, they are all getting themselves on the mat, so why not join them and see the difference it makes!
Here are a few postures that are really going to help keep flexibility and strength –
Dangling improves flexibility to the hamstrings and brings a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to the brain.
The inverted V pose gives a complete stretch through the whole body from the ankles to the back of the neck, loosening hamstrings, back muscles, allowing the spine to lengthen and strengthens through the arms and shoulders. If the chin is tucked to the chest there is also stimulation to the thyroid gland. Being a gentle inversion it massages the heart and refreshes the supply of blood to the brain.
Plank pose: a great core strengthener, tones the arms, wrists and shoulders. Releases tension between the shoulder blades.
Upward facing dog, opens the chest, strengthens arms, wrists and shoulders and works the whole spine, tension is released from the back muscles.
Butterfly pose, opens the hips and stretches through the inner thighs. The organs of the entire pelvic region are toned and invigorated.
Chair pose reminds of our connection to the earth, strengthens the thighs, calves and ankles, stimulates the heart and diaphragm and can build on endurance levels.
Always remember to relax in Savasana lying on your back on the mat with the legs apart and the palms facing up for 5-10 minutes after your practice, that is when the magic really happens!
Enjoy this beautiful practice
Om shanti shanti shanti
May all find peace and balance
Mangala / Nicky