Why Athletes do Yoga
A rather noticeable trend in the stories about numerous Olympic athletes and their training routines was that many said they utilize yoga regularly. As startling as that might seem, it really should come as no surprise. Yoga has been used by various athletes across many sports for years.
As serious as Olympic athletes train, it seems logical that they would take advantage of any training method that would provide them with an edge.
So why yoga?
Really it is a case of why not yoga. Unless you have just a complete lack of time, yoga is pretty much guaranteed to improve you in the areas of flexibility which directly relates to muscle explosiveness and agility as well as helping reduce injuries.
People who workout hard usually all experience tightness in hamstrings, calves, and back muscles regularly; it is just a byproduct of exercise. Muscle imbalances can cause issues like pulls and strains. Doing yoga can help relieve those areas. It also a great tool for recovery and learning your limitations and areas that need improvement.
How much yoga?
Ideally if you added two or three short sessions of yoga to your weekly schedule you should notice some immediate improvement. This should be in addition to your regular routine and is not meant to replace it. You should find a program that uses dynamic poses for warm-ups followed by passive holds to really stretch those muscles out. Many people then enjoy ending a session with what's called a restorative pose to help with recovery.
You can get a really good yoga workout completed in as little as 20 minutes. Taking a few classes to learn some of the basics is a great starting point. From there it can be as easy as having a DVD to follow along with and starting your day with some light yoga two to three times a week. Getting loose and stretched out is a great way to get the ball rolling each morning. Conversely you can do yoga before bed which might lead to a more restful, deep sleep.
Will yoga affect my workouts?
Yes yoga will affect your workouts but only in a good way. There have been countless examples of athletes in all sports from golf to football that use yoga to make themselves better. We aren't just talking about amateurs but also noted professionals with high level careers. There are really not any good reasons to skip yoga as it is such a beneficial aspect to health and longevity. That is why so many people from weekend warriors to Olympic athletes use it.