Time to relax and unwind this week! I’m sure many of you have been swimming, trail running, playing basketball and enjoying your chosen sport so far as the season heads toward summer. But as an athlete, you have to know when it’s time to take a breather and stretch out all those kinks that can allow you to lose focus in the game. What is one of our chosen rehab methods at Sports Art International? Yoga, of course! What better way to relax a little while still maintaining some semblance of a workout? In addition, yoga brings you back into balance, re-energizing your athletic and even artistic self.
Author E.C. LaMeaux of life.gaiam.com in the article, How Does Yoga Help Athletes, discusses the many benefits yoga has to offer the modern athlete. “Yoga is an appropriate practice for many athletes,” explains LaMeaux, “providing physical exercise, breath control and flexibility, as well as mental focus. Yoga helps athletes gain knowledge about the mind and body connection, improving body awareness and enhancing mental clarity. Studies conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine illustrate that the physical benefits of yoga for athletes are lowered heart rate, increased oxygen intake, functional strength and flexibility, but athletes also report enhanced focus and greater concentration.”
These methods are great for relieving tension, stress, and are even better if you happen to be recovering from a sports related injury or even for preventing one. LaMeaux elaborates, “AltMD suggests integrating yoga into athletic training helps athletes lessen their risk of injury and recovery time by gaining strength and flexibility without straining muscles. Yoga relieves muscle tension and loosens joints, hips, hamstrings and shoulders.” The benefits seem endless!
There are also many different types of yoga that may fit better for your schedule and cater to your specific sport. “An intense daily workout schedule could be balanced by a restorative yoga practice, or Yin yoga class,” prescribes LaMeaux, “helping athletes find a place to slow down, relax and dive deep into tense and tight areas of the body. If you want your yoga practice to help the body become more energized for your sport.” LaMeaux also suggests beginning the day with strengthening yoga such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power yoga to prepare the body for activity.
In addition, yoga brings out a further relaxed, intimate, even spiritual side that caters to a more creative existence. We know here at Sports Art International that art and sports do coincide in a very harmonious way. Karen Macklin of yogainternational.com in her article, Awaken Your Inner Artist: Yoga & Creativity, examines the parallels of yoga and art. She states, “Artistic expression can be deeply fulfilling, but accessing creativity isn’t always easy. Creativity arises naturally in states of stillness and presence, which can be elusive when we are distracted by daily preoccupations and scattered thoughts. This is why yoga is such a gift for the artist. When we practice awareness in asana, pranayama, and meditation, we learn to see—and let go of—the distractions of the mind. It is from this place of clear seeing that inspiration springs forth.”
It almost seems rather important to introduce yoga into your life if you haven’t already! It relieves the physical ailments of an athletic body while also breaking through to your creative side. From an artistic and athletic standpoint here at SAI, we feel that it’s very important to sustain your mental and physical health. So take a break from your sport this week to regain some balance. And, don’t forget to breath!