As a personal trainer and yoga instructor, I come in contact with a great deal of athletes, fitness instructors, and people simply just trying to be healthier. A majority of those I have worked with the last few years seem to lack a yoga practice. Stretching and breathing probably doesn't do much for us, right? ;)
"I don't have time."
"I benefit more from running or lifting. Something more intense."
Neither of these is true.
Why should athletes make time for yoga?
- Injury Prevention
Performing exercises like running or cycling, requires repetitive movements. Repeatedly utilizing the same muscles over and over again can and will lead to injury without a balanced fitness regimen. This includes yoga.
Repeatedly using the muscles - like the ITB band in the legs for running - keeps the muscle contracted. This shortens the muscle. If you can imagine this happening in the body, you can see how this would cause issues with flexibility and range of motion.
Which leads me to our next point.
2. Increase Strength
Since yoga improves range of motion, this allows us to lift weights and exercise with better form all around. Doing this, we are activating the particular muscles we are trying to activate. A yoga practice also utilizes a lot of tiny muscles to transition into and out of different postures. This helps to eliminate any muscular imbalances in the body.
3. Increase Endurance
How? Through the breath work! Focusing on the breath and taking deep inhales and exhales helps to increase the lung capacity.