Jake Panasevich, yoga trainer for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, gets to hear professional athletes rave on a regular basis about how yoga helps their athletic performance (physically and mentally). Needless to say, he loves this.
In fact, Panasevich shared with US New & World Report today how yoga can up any athlete’s game. Here’s what he had to say:
If athletes at the highest level of competition are killing it with yoga, so could athletes at every level. Whether you’re competing in sports, or if you’re a recreational runner, rock climber, cyclist, weightlifter or CrossFitter, perform at your best with yoga. Here’s how to do it:
Injury Prevention Through Yoga
I will never forget the moments in my wrestling career when I was unable to compete because I was injured. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to sit out because you’re hurt. Athletes are especially prone to injury because they tend to be more strong than flexible, and so create more torque and strain on their joints. Some injuries are unavoidable. However, many can be prevented with a steady yoga routine. Yoga students develop flexibility and an acute attention to alignment, breath and pain sensation. The basic poses are powerful and therapeutic. If done intelligently, they strengthen and stretch the body in a way that promotes a keen awareness of pain and dangerous misalignment.
Be Fierce Without Losing Your Composure
A strong yoga practice demands that you challenge yourself and work harder than you ever thought you possibly could without running for the door screaming. Much like working out or athletics, you have to contain that raw emotion and ferocity and use it as a tool to up your game. Yoga is a powerful technique of bumping against your physical and mental edges repeatedly and in that moment, be at your best. Zac MacMath, the goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Union, told me yoga helps him remain relaxed and centered when the game is on the line.
Yoga Complements Cardio
Yoga is great for cardiovascular workouts and sports. It trains you to breathe more efficiently, and you’re asked to be aware of your breath at all times. Breathing technique demands that you consciously deepen your breath, especially when you are struggling. So even when you feel like you are winded and ready to break down, you’re able to finish your run or bike race strongly. Most cardio is running intensive. For sports like soccer, where players are running for 90 minutes straight with bursts of explosive sprints, a yoga routine that stretches the hamstrings, quads, IT bands (the ilotibial band ligaments along the thigh) and hips is a great way to facilitate mobility in the lower body.
Yoga for Anaerobic, Technical Sports
For the technicians like weightlifters, baseball players and golfers, alignment and biomechanics are crucial. The day David Buchanan, pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, came to my class, we talked for two hours about the mechanical skills he needs to deliver a killer fastball pitch…
For the rest of point 4 plus Yoga for Combative Competitions, Mobility & Explosive Core Strength, Balance and Symmetry, and Recovery Time, read the rest of his excellent article at US News & World Report: Health.
Image Source: apasciuto