5 Ways Yoga Can Help Young Athletes

When you have a competitive kid, you’ll do anything to help him or her gain an edge on the competition. For years, professional sports athletes have been trained in ballet and other types of dance to increase and fine-tune agility and fine motor skills. The trend in athletes going vegan in order to cut down on recovery time and increase overall energy is only getting stronger.

So why not throw in yoga?

Yoga is beneficial to all of us in so many ways, but for young athletes, yoga can contribute positively to a variety of factors that increase athleticism and related skills. Here are 5 examples of how yoga can help our children get ahead in athletics:

Boy leaping to catch a baseball

Physical Awareness

Let’s face it: yoga helps to develop a unique relationship with one’s body. It forces you to learn about it, to know where you can push yourself, and when you need to stop. The effects yoga has on your body are quick and obvious, so that the more you practice, the faster you’ll see your body change.

For a young athlete, yoga can help bridge the gap between brain and body, the emotional and physical. In relation to sports, this is helpful because your mind is powerful, and your body responds to signals your brain sends to it. By learning, through yoga, that your body will do what the mind envisions it doing, young athletes can become better competitors, both physically and mentally.

Flexibility

This one’s a given, right? One’s flexibility literally determines how far one can bend and move. If movement is held back by tight muscles and fascia, then you can never experience the full scope of your ability. It only makes sense that flexibility can help or hinder one in sports—especially in regards to recovery. Which brings us to…

Injury Prevention and Resolution

Yoga is extremely helpful in the realm of preventing injuries, as well as treating current ones. There are countless studies that cite the positive effects that yoga has on prevention and treatment of spinal, hip, back, and hamstring injuries.

And it makes sense!

By routinely stretching your body and using your own body weight to put pressure on specific muscle groups, you are strengthening and toning in a much safer way than any other.

Young boys playing soccer

Fascial Fitness

Fascia is a tight web of muscles that encase larger muscle and joints. It takes extra effort and conscious care to knead and stretch fascia properly, and yin and restorative yoga is great for this. If left alone, fascia quickly becomes hard as plastic, and equally as inflexible.

The head trainer for the BC Lions Football Club (Chris Boyko) takes care to make sure his players conduct fascial stretching every day—it’s that important.

Cognitive Competence

Yoga positively increases mental health. Like any exercise, yoga increases circulation to the brain, which increases oxygen deposits, which make you feel better.

But unlike other practices, yoga is all about care and acceptance and finding a deeper connection to your whole self. It allows for deep breath and downtime and calmness and a different type of movement than what’s found in other activities.

Parallel Sports Performance

Our sports performance studio has just opened. Offering sport-specific yoga for the individual or team, we can custom build a program for you! If you’re interested in checking it out, or have questions for Kara, please contact us HERE.

Namaste!