By Annie Jones

Every athlete needs a brawny, sturdy and a healthy athletic body for optimum performance. There are several ways you can achieve this – one among the best being Yoga. Yoga is an activity that has beaten the tests of its time from being a traditional meditation activity to being the most effective physical exercise in several parts of the world. Yoga offers a lot in its package; most of which if done correctly will boost your athletic performance immensely.

But first, what makes up an athlete? Perhaps it is important to fathom the key points that mean virtually everything to an athlete before we look at how Yoga becomes the savior. A good athlete should possess flexibility, strength, and balance. He or she should also master how to control his or her breath. They should also be able to prevent any avoidable injuries when practicing or even in competitions. Now, how can you acquire all these? The answer is simple, through Yoga! Do the following and take your profession to the next level.

Yoga for injury prevention

Recreation and sport related injuries are very common nowadays. Athletics is no exception. Thanks to yoga for its ability to help the victim either recover or even prevent the injury before it happens. Several yoga poses can be used to train your body for either quick recovery or for preventive purposes.

Consistency is the key here. To prevent ankle injury or get rid of ankle pain you can do the garland, half-moon pose, high lunge crescent variations, chair pose or the camel pose. They will keep your ankle physically fit and strong enough to resist minor injuries. For your shoulders, do the plank pose, downward-facing dog pose, cow face pose, and the mountain pose variation. Do them correctly and be free from minor injuries!

Yoga to boost core strength

Body strength is imperative for general athletic performance. It is the foundation of every athletic activity. There are several yoga poses that can be done for strong and flexible athletic muscles. Depending on your athletic activity, you may need to specialize these exercise to suit your athletic requirement.

For instance, a runner should work on his legs but should not disregard his or her upper part of the body. And that is what yoga does! Do these poses for a stronger and vigorous body: dolphin plank, side-to-side dolphin plank, three-legged downward-facing dog, peacock pose, scorpion pose, crow pose and the headstand pose.

Yoga for better breathing

Almost every yoga pose focuses on proper breathing during exercise. Proper breathing is equally pertinent for almost all athletic activities. Yoga trains your lungs to breath well during physical activity hence improving your endurance. It also keeps your lungs healthy. A little biology reveals that oxygen is an important requirement in the body during intense exercise.Therefore, to keep this constant oxygen supply, your lungs should be at its optimum performance. Here are some of the specific yoga poses for proper breathing: the bellows breath, lion’s breath, skull cleanser, breath of fire, and the ujjayi breath.

Yoga for breath awareness

Being able to control your breath is what defines how best you can perform in several athletic performances. During exercise, you will most likely breath heavily and fall short of breath before completing whatever you were doing. That’s only if you’ve not attended a yoga class for breath awareness.

Do the following to be able to take full control of your breath: Tadasana variation (arm raises), uttanasana (standing forward bend), uttanasana with krama, locust variation, kneeling forward bend variation. and seated forward bend.

Yoga to increase performance balance

Increasing performance balance means that you have full control over your body during the athletic performance. This way, you will not only improve your agility and power output but also reduce the risk of injuries and boost your technique and form. The following yoga poses could dramatically improve your performance balance: tree pose, eagle pose, warrior-3, half moon, and the dancer pose.

Yoga to boost flexibility

Flexibility is an important factor in athletics. There are several yoga poses that will help you strengthen and lengthen muscles as well as improve joint performance. Being consistent with these exercises will significantly boost your flexibility. They will also improve your skill performance and technique.

These poses include big toe pose, bound angle pose, child’s pose, cow face pose, extended triangle pose, extended puppy pose, half frog pose, head-to-head forward bend, intense side stretch pose and noose pose.

Yoga for general balance

As an athlete, you need general body balance. A good physical balance is more than just being able to perhaps stand on your single foot. It is about keeping a steady posture that helps you maintain focus and keep track of whatever you are doing. Some of the best poses for this purpose include tree, high lunge, standing extended big toe, chair pose, lord of the dance pose and the extended triangle pose.