Using Sports Yoga to increase focus and reduce stress
Practising yoga before and after partaking in sport or fitness training can massively help to improve athletic performance. Not only can sports yoga be used to restore and recover the body after activities, it can also be used prior working out to warm the body up and focus the mind in preparation for the activities ahead.
Last summer I made a huge discovery whilst training for my yoga instructor course as I needed to fit all the hours of practice in I could to pass. So I started practicing yoga throughout the day as well as in the evenings to increase my hours.
I had to fit this extra practice in around my day job, and as an early bird my focus for work is always better in the morning so I’m usually at my desk by 6:30/7am reading my emails and lining up my to do list for the day. However, I am prone to crashing at about 3pm so I decided as that was my least productive time for mental work I would take that time away from the desk and use it to get my yoga practice in. This usually meant I was practicing an hour or two before my 6pm CrossFit class. Wednesdays used to be our Olympic lifting sessions. I begun to notice that on the days I had practiced yoga before CrossFit or an Olympic lifting session, my technique was far better and I was achieving heavier lifts and smashing my PB’s – I wondered, could their be a link?!
I began to look into the science behind it…
HOW SPORTS YOGA HELPS TO IMPROVE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Sports yoga is the perfect match for any active man or woman who enjoys partaking in sport or physical training of some sort, particularly for those who train at a competitive level and it can vastly improve focus and athletic performance.
Using yoga BEFORE exercise can help to:
- Clear the mind and increase focus
- Destress both the body and the mind from previous events that day
- Helps warm up and engage all those little muscles that will be used to support the big ones you are about to work on
Using yoga AFTER exercise can help to:
- Balance hormone levels again – high intensity training stresses the body and therefore naturally increases cortisol levels.
- Speed up recovery time as yoga Improves the blood flow to muscles and ligaments, aiding with repair without adding any further stress or impact
- Help reduce the DOMS! As muscles have been properly cooled downs and stretched off after working out delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can be reduced or avoided all together, enabling you to enjoy more training if you wish!
And it’s not just yoga instructors raving about these benefits – many pro athletes now incorporate yoga into their training schedules. Read more about this here.
Keen to give sports yoga a go?
There are numerous ways you can practice sports yoga now, so there really is no excuse…
Find a local yoga class:
If you prefer to be instructed (enforced practice if you like) see if you can find a local class before or after your main training activity. This also helps to prevent any distractions which may prevent you from practicing as well ensuring correct postures are held. Flotality runs both lunchtime classes, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and evening classes on Thursdays too if you are looking for a group class. See our classes here.
Book private 1-2-1’s at a time that suits you:
Or you might choose to book a 1-2-1 to better fit in around your training schedule. A private yoga lesson will typically be programmed specific to your individual needs and so therefore could be really beneficial as you will be getting exactly what YOU need. Flotality 1-2-1s can be held at your home or a venue suitable for you. Find out more about these here.
Use online video classes:
Alternatively you could look at online video classes, there are plenty of freebies on YouTube you can use, or you could sign up to an online class provider such as Alo Moves. This will enable you to practice yoga anywhere you like, on the move, at home or even whilst away. Hopefully one day Flotality might be able to offer some video classes too – so watch this space!
If you would like to know any more information on any of the above feel free to give us a call!