Why Athletes Who Practice Yoga May Have the Advantage This Olympics

More than 10,000 athletes will be competing at the Olympic Games in Rio this Summer and 4,000 in the Paralympics. The Olympic Games consists of 42 Sports with 306 events over 19 intense days. 136 women will be awarded medals, 161 men and nine mixed medals. But how many of the athletes that make the podium will have included yoga into their strength and conditioning training?

There are of course many factors involved in what makes an athlete an Olympian, but those athletes that have applied sports-specific yoga regularly into their training will have the advantage of drawing on resources that their opponents may not have.

Here are 5 examples of the less obvious ways in which sports-specific yoga gives athletes the advantage:

1. Breathing Power

How we breathe has a direct relationship to how we perform and yet performance breathing is generally overlooked within athletic training. Each sport has different respiratory requirements. When sports-specific breathing techniques are applied they help the athlete experience and release a whole new performance potential.

Here are a few examples of how the power of breathing gives athletes the advantage, helping them to:

- Generate more power and force

- Perform more efficiently

- Experience a greater sense of well-being

- Manage performance nerves.

2. Less Strain. More Gain

In the pursuit of performance excellence, most athletes overtrain and push themselves too far. This is often the stage where injury can occur. One of the successful approaches we use is to apply a minimal sports-specific yoga sequence to correspond with the athlete’s periodized training.

By helping athletes move at a different pace and tempo to their regular training they are able to learn to work with their body rather than against it. With more control and integrated breathing, athletes experience moving with less effort. This helps them explore different movement patterns, which are designed to enhance the movements in their sport.