For some reason or another, many athletes have come to believe that yoga is just a method for stretching, and if they’re already stretching before and after workouts they don’t need to participate in yoga practice.
What they don’t realize is that yoga has many other benefits for their training routine beyond simple stretches. In fact, many poses help athletes to strengthen their muscles and, in general, achieve better results within their given sports.
Here are some of the best poses that will benefit athletes:
Bridge Pose: Properly holding the bridge pose on a yoga mat towel for 30 seconds to a minute will help strengthen the back and develop the muscles surrounding the spinal column.
Triangle Pose: This pose aids in deepening hip movement patterns, extending flexibility and also range of motion. It’s especially useful with lengthening the side body muscles, aiding with sports that involve repetition for one-sided motions like tennis, frisbee, golf or baseball.
Warrior One Pose: This pose works on thoracic extension with shoulder and hip flexion, making it the perfect pairing for front squats.
Pigeon Pose: One of the best poses for runners, this pose lengthens the hip flexors, lower-back and groin muscles. It also helps alleviate lower back pain and deepens the hip opening.
Thread the Needle Pose: A great alternative for the Pigeon pose (especially if your hip muscles are tight), this pose helps you to unwind while still obtaining the benefits of the Pigeon pose.
Cobra Pose: This pose opens up the front of the body, which can often become curled up during defensive sports like MMA, basketball and football. It’s a great way reduce chest and abdominal tightness, and correct postural imbalance.
These six poses can be incorporated into any athlete’s daily training routine, or yoga classes can be incorporated into rest days as a way to continue muscle development every day of the week.