Yoga; your journey to improving athletic performance

Yoga Teacher

Davey Black Sports Performance is a Melbourne Fitness Centre that is made up of a Fitness Studio, Yoga Studio, Recovery Room, Physiotherapist and Nutritionist. What makes this particular Melbourne Fitness Centre so unique is that every coach, teacher and professional inside the centre is highly experienced, a true leader in their field, and they all communicate with each other to provide you with a holistic and all encompassing health and fitness experience.

So let’s dig a little deeper and discuss Yoga and how is it beneficial to you?

This is a question that has many answers, and the answer is unique and different depending on the individual. In the West many people know Yoga to be a stretching and flexibility based exercise practice, others know it to be a combination of body work and meditation. These two elements are a very important part of Yoga; however Yoga goes far beyond these two aspects. Yoga is an ancient philosophy containing principles and practices to guide an individual on how to live a purposeful and meaningful life. This ancient tradition offers individuals a practice that’s cultivates self-awareness, happiness, health and higher consciousness. Yoga is a system of practices including breathing techniques, breath awareness, postures and movement, relaxation, focus, self-awareness, self-exploration and meditation. Any one or more of which alone, or combined with any mix of the others, will have an immediate and ongoing benefit to the individual who practices them.

As an athlete, what does Yoga have to offer? One of the main benefits of yoga for athletes is the cultivation of balance. Through asana (postures and movement), pranayama (breath control), relaxation and/or meditation an individual can become better in tune with their body. Imbalances in the body are the biggest cause of injury. Learning to listen to early signs of aches and pains, and knowing when to rest and recover is hugely important in preventing injury. Understanding balance in the body is also crucial in preventing long term wear and tear by avoiding asymmetrical pressure and overcompensation from secondary muscles. A regular asana practice will help alignment and flexibility and work the muscles and joints gently through all ranges of motion helping to counterbalance the less variable motion of repetitive exercise.

Athletes who learn to stay centred and focussed through uncomfortable poses by concentrating on breathing can learn to use breath control to improve stamina and endurance during an important event or challenging work out. Yoga offers athletes an opportunity to utilise the mind to increase performance rather than seeing the mind as an entity which limits their body. Pranayama can transform an individual’s experience of their sport. Breathing exercises help to enhance focus as well as improving lung function and vital capacity. Deep breathing helps to quiet the nervous system and momentarily suppress stress hormones, improving an athlete’s ability to focus and overcome mental barriers. Pranayama, relaxation and meditation also offer athletes the benefit of mental and physical rest and recovery, a crucial element in a well-balanced training regime.

Yoga is a mode of living and a method to approaching life. The benefits are extensive and go far beyond those mentioned above. Because Yoga is a multifaceted philosophy comprised of a number of varying practices the benefits that Yoga offers will be specific and unique to each individual. Self-inquiry lies at the heart of yoga, and so to truly discover the benefits, one must experience yoga for themselves in a form that suits and sustains them as individuals. Be playful, be experimental and be aware. Explore what helps you to function and perform better. Discover what energises and inspires you and uncover what best helps you to relax and recover.

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