Being an athlete is not everyone’s cup of tea. You have to be always on your toes, both on and off the field. The daily schedule of athletes is full of intense activities. They spend their entire day in doing workouts and rigorous activities to keep themselves fit and to improve their performance on the field. Their focus is giving the best and to do so, they leave no stone unturned. As an athlete, it is hard to spare a few minutes from the busy schedule. But what if these few minutes boost your performance and fitness? Use these minutes in doing some yoga and give an amazing performance every time you hit the ground.
Yes.. a well-rounded practice of yoga that focuses on dynamic flexibility, core stabilization, strengthening, and balancing work offers various perks to athletes. Besides improving mental and physical health, it lessens the chances of injuries and helps recover faster. Here is a list of 5 excellent yoga poses for athletes to help them maximize their performance on and off the mat :
Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Lie on your back. Keep your feet flat and hip-distance apart on the Floor. Bend your knees and bring your heels close to the sit-bones. Let your arms rest alongside the body, palms facing down. Inhale deeply, press your arms and feet into the floor to raise your hips off the floor. Ensure that your knees are parallel to the feet. Raise your hips a little higher and hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana: Lie flat on your belly with legs extended straight behind you, feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands under the shoulders and spread the fingers widely. Keep your elbows tightly closed by your sides. Inhale, press through your hands to straighten, raising your torso off the ground. Keep your thighs and feet firmly on the floor. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds.
Triangle Pose or Trikonasana: Begin in standing pose. Turn your right foot 90 degrees out and left 45 degrees in. Align your front heel with the arch of the back leg. Balance your body weight equally on both balls of the feet. Now, raise your arms sideways perpendicular to the floor. Take a deep breath, bring down the right arm to reach the floor with fingertips and stretch the left arm upwards towards the ceiling. Keep your body bent sideways and waist straight. Hold the posture for 30-60 seconds and switch sides.
Camel Pose or Ustrasana: Begin on your knees, keeping them hip-width apart. Press the shins and feet onto the floor. Place your palms on your buttocks with fingers pointing down. Now, press through the pelvis and begin to bend behind, rounding the spine. Keep your neck relaxed in a neutral position. Reach your hands to hold the top of the feet and stretch the body deeply.
Standing Forward Fold Pose or Uttanasana: Begin standing straight with feet hip-width apart. Let your arms rest sideways. Place your hands on the hips and bend forward in a way that your ribs touch the thighs. Do not round your back. Now, bring down the hands to touch the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling and straighten your legs without letting your abdomen come off the thighs. Do not lock the knees and keep them slightly bent in order to avoid any strain. Stay in the posture for a few breaths.
Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana: Begin on all your fours in a tabletop position. Keep your hands beneath the shoulders and knees beneath the hips. Slide your hands a few inches forward and straighten the legs, keeping toes flat on the ground. Lift your tailbone towards the ceiling to form an inverted ‘V’ shape with the body. Press the palms into the floor and draw the shoulder blades down. Keep your neck in neutral position and look at your belly. Breathe deeply and hold the posture for 1-3 minutes.
Boat Pose or Naukasana: Lie down on the back with feet together and hands resting on either side of the body. Inhale deeply and while exhaling, bend the knees and bring feet close to the pelvis. Inhale, lengthen the spine, raise your head and chest off the floor. Now, stretch out your arms to grab the toes. Keep your eyes, fingers and toes in a line, maintaining a V-shape with the body. Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths.
So athletes, what are you waiting for? Hit your yoga mat and improve your performance, both on and off the field.