Active individuals are accustomed to using their bodies and muscles vigorously on a regular basis. The stretching and breathing exercises of yoga help people improve performance and maintain their bodies. Yoga poses should be practiced in conjunction with strenuous activity. When regular stretching is neglected, strenuous activity strains the muscles, joints and tendons, and tension accumulates in the body. This accumulated tension has forced many active people to give up their favorite sport or activity as a result of some type of injury or permanent damage.
Golfers, athletes, dancers, weight lifters and other active individuals who incorporate yoga instruction in their activities discover that the benefits go far beyond the effects of simple muscle stretching. Yoga techniques are perfect for eliminating stiffness, improving coordination and preventing injuries. Moreover, yoga helps balance mental, emotional and physical energy, which improves concentration and endurance. Yoga will help with attitude, confidence, pacing, keeping calm, understanding setbacks and failures, the importance of patience and waiting, confusion and having faith. Yoga practice will also help you appreciate the joy of playing totally free from fear.
In addition to these benefits, the gentle nature of certain yoga styles makes them suitable to use as preventive and healing measures for various injuries athletes frequently incur. Most of the low-back pain and injuries athletes experience are directly connected to tightness in the waist, hips and legs. The combination of backward and forward bending postures along with hip-stretching poses are ideal for toning and strengthening these groups of muscles.
For example, Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the large tendon at the back of the heel) can be prevented by practicing the ankle flex, mountain pose and hip stretches. An excellent preventive method for condromalacia patella (softening of the cartilage under the knee cap) is stretching the quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper leg, and the gastrocnemius muscle in the calf by practicing forward bending, standing balancing and downward dog poses. Similarly other injuries, such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissues in the bottom of the foot) and shin splints (inflammation of the tendons on the front lower leg), can be prevented or healed by utilizing the basic yoga foot stretches of the standing, balancing and sitting poses.
People involved in a range of sports, such as golf, skiing and weight lifting, assert that yoga has not only given them extra muscle conditioning and development but has also healed and prevented a reoccurrence of old injuries.