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Why Yoga for Athletes?

“I rest when I sleep.”

“I go to the gym to get a workout/sweat.”

“I never sit down to touch my toes in my sport.”

“My flexibility is terrible.”

These are the common excuses I get from athletes who haven’t caught on to the power of yoga. I used to be there too. I didn’t discover yoga until I switched from playing Football to running Cross Country in college, and then I only chalked it up to my coach’s wife being a yoga instructor. I’m sure I won’t convert you overnight, but here’s a few things to consider before you write off yoga as “not for me.”

Intentional, active recovery. Studies have shown that music has a huge impact on motivating your brain and body to get “pumped up” and that actually, we should be just as intentional about playing calm music after a workout to signal to our brains that it’s time to wind it down and rest. Doing yoga sends that signal to your brain and body that it’s time to recover and let go. Unfortunately sitting in your car on the way home from working out is not signaling to your brain that the body can recover, you need to be intentional about sending those signals. If you never recover, your body will break down from overuse and stress (let alone your mind).

That one wrong move. When we’re working out we’re highly focused on form. When we practice a sport, we work on form so that it becomes second nature when we need to use that skill. We’d all like to think we can use perfect form all the time, but the reality is that we live in a world full of humans, and we’re one of them. When you’re on the field and they unexpectedly go left, you’re not thinking about form, but what happens when your body is not used to going that direction? Injury. Yoga helps strengthen and stretch your body in all the ways it can go, so you can fully utilize your abilities whenever the opportunity arises.

What’s really killing you? Is it the food you eat or the stress you are under? I’ve seen this time and again and it’s true for myself, that I actually slim down faster doing yoga than following a diet plan. Why? Because stress causes SO MANY health problems and back to point number one, we need to be intentional about dealing with our stress. If you’re wondering how effective it is, Google “yoga and stress management.” Yes, it can be as easy as doing yoga.

It’s hard because it’s so easy. They say the hardest pose in yoga is the final resting pose, because we struggle to be still. The final resting pose is the most important because it allows your mind to process everything your body just did and store it in a healthy way in your memory. Doing yoga helps your mind and body process all it’s been through, and if we don’t give our body and mind the space to process, we make it harder to learn, heal, and move forward in a healthy way. You actually accelerate your ability to progress when you intentionally give yourself time to process through yoga.

I hope you’ll think about some of these facts before you say “yoga is not for me”. Think of it as way cheaper than a massage, a mini vacation from the rest of your craziness, something you might as well try before your doctor tells you to do so or before a physical therapist forces it on you. I hope you’ll take care of yourself so you can show up and be the best version of you.