There has been a lot of talk about the benefits vs. drawbacks of yoga if practiced by athletes. The preconceived notion goes something like: practicing yoga causes muscle-flexibility which is could be considered undesirable for athletes as they are supposed to build strong muscles. While this debate may not have a quick end soon, let us take a look at the facts which, in turn, will give us a clear picture about the relation of yoga and athletes.
Some interesting facts:
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the famous basketball player, daily practices yoga.
- Orlando Hernández, the baseball pitcher, has been a devoted yoga practitioner for years.
- Most of the male professional sports teams have already included yoga into their regular fitness regimes.
- Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Eagles, The Miami Dolphins, and New York Giants are some of the sports clubs which have included and recommend yoga for athletes.
- According to Joe Johnson, an NBA star player for whom an hour long yoga session is a must before any match, finds it very rejuvenating as well as refreshing. The Huffington Post quoted him saying, “It’s pretty strenuous as far as a workout…It loosens me up, actually. If we have to be at the gym at 5:30, I’ll go about 3 and I get out at 4:30. I go straight to the arena. I’ll already be loose and ready to go. It’s very relaxing. I’ve never meditated before, or anything of that nature, but when I started doing yoga, it just kind of goes with [it]. I found myself meditating and really relaxing and clearing my thoughts.”
- The same thought is echoed by Kent Katich, the founder member of All Sport Yoga and also the winner of the prestigious title “Yoga guru of the NBA” given by ESPN. He said the way yoga used to be projected earlier made a negative impact on the mind of athletes. But with the due course of time, people, especially, those who are into sports have come to terms with the goodness of this ancient Vedic practice.
- Fitness quotient is not the only thing that is turning the attention of thousands of sportsmen across the globe towards yoga, the phenomenal healing power of yoga is also a primary reason behind this popularity. Being a sportsman is not all about body fitness, strength, agility, and vigor; a sportsman has to withstand immense mental pressure before, during and after a match. To cope with that phase, mind control is absolutely necessary, in which yoga acts like a boosting tonic. By doing yoga and meditation on a regular basis, one can attain a calm and peaceful mind; and a superior control over one’s emotions. It is also the best medicine to fight negative tendencies of the mind like anxiety or depression which are pretty common among athletes.
- This kind of mind-body exercise offers an all-encompassing plethora of benefits including spiritual, cognitive, physical, and psychological which an athlete or a sportsman need more than anything. What more? Doing yoga does not only charge up the body and its muscle, but it works as a mental-trainer too by boosting up self-confidence and self-esteem, purifying the mind and soul by eliminating all kind of negative energies, and by developing an enhanced sense of self-control under any trying circumstances.
- So if you are a budding athlete or an aspiring one, try including yoga in your fitness regime NOW without a second thought! It might be hard in the beginning, but, believe me, as you progress, your heart will say that you are going in the right way.
- Also, to all the athletes and sports persons reading this post, please come and share your experience on this.
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