There is a popular misconception that yoga is about bending like a pretzel. Yoga is about so much more than that. Some benefits of yoga for athletes:
- Clarity and focus
- How to strengthen and stretch opposing muscles in balance
- Challenge proprioception
- Improve balance
- Learn how to isolate muscle groups
- Learn how to truly release tension from over tightened muscles
- Learn how to access more parts of the body to assist in repetitive actions to help prevent strain injuries
- Improves physiological and cognitive abilities that translate to better performance.
A major portion of joint pain and injury come from the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the joint being too loose to properly hold the joint in place. This becomes especially problematic in sports which repetitively use the same motions in strenuous ways. Joints, particularly highly mobile ones like the shoulders, hips, and knees, require stability as the foundation for strength and power.
Proprioception is a complicated sounding word with a simple meaning: a person’s awareness of their body. Increased proprioception means greater ability to use the body in an efficient athletic system, and helps the climber realize when he or she is nearing the point of injury. Yoga is an incredible tool for building proprioception.
Cultivation of useful breathing is a beneficial aspect of practicing yoga for climbing. “Find steadiness and comfort in all that you do.” In any sport that you do it is much easier to perform when your body and mind are steady and comfortable. Achieving steadiness and comfort through the use of breathing techniques. Engaging in deep, meaningful breath enhances your body’s ability to stay calm in stressful/intense situations.