Yoga’s physical postures and breathing exercises improve core strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, which plays an essential role in boosting the performance of athletes.
Yoga is a way of life, and its origins can be traced almost 5000 years back. A Yogic practice helps an individual find mental, physical and spiritual balance. Today, millions of people across the world from various communities embraced Yoga due to the numerous benefits it has to offer. For athletes, it becomes even more essential to include Yoga in their fitness regime, as it provides a holistic experience leading to a relaxed mind and an energised body. Especially in a fast-paced, aggressive sport like Kabaddi, players require meditation to keep themselves calm and maintain composure. Yoga forms a considerable part of our team’s training sessions. It is firmly believed that along with a muscular physique, sportspersons also need to have a healthy mind.
Below are the reasons why athletes should include Yoga in their fitness routine:
Control on mind
- Concentration and focus are significant to perform better in any sport. A peaceful mind will help the players to make the right decisions at the right time.
- In Kabaddi, presence of mind is essential for both raiders and defenders as they need to pay close attention to each other’s moves on the mat.
- A calm mind also gives athletes the ability to ignore distractions and have a single-minded focus. Players must also learn to be patient; as at times, the game gets aggressive.
- Yoga and meditation sessions go a long way in ensuring mental focus and control for the athletes.
Flexibility and balance
- The ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion is known as flexibility. Yoga gurus have said that flexibility is in mind.
- The more you let go (thoughts, worries, grudges, etc.) and relax the body responds. Practising yoga increases flexibility and ease of movement.
- It frees the body from stiffness. Engaging in regular flexibility training can assist with increased joint mobility, better posture, decreased back pain and a lower risk of injury.
- Yoga is also a great way to incorporate balance exercises into your workout regime. Many yoga asanas help improve the body’s overall balance and strength, which aids athletes in their performance.
Improves core strength
Almost all the asanas, from standing postures, twists to balancing poses, work on your core. A strong base equals a healthy back and a healthy body.
Improves breathing & lung capacity
Conscious and mindful breath work done under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher helps increase lung capacity and overall vitality Increasing lung capacity allows athletes to improve their stamina.
(Inputs By Anup Kumar, Head Coach, Puneri Paltan. Anup was conferred with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in 2012 for his invaluable contribution. After his retirement, the stalwart is now the Head Coach of Puneri Paltan.)
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