We understand that being an athlete can cause damage and put severe strain on the body, which is why we’ve compiled great yoga poses for our athletes. Many athletes feel they don’t have the patience or the time to add yoga to their already rigorous training schedule. However, we believe they will find that adding yoga to their routine will not only protect their body and prevent injuries, but they will also perform better. It’s why so many professional sports teams are now adding yoga into their weekly mix of workouts. With yoga, athletes can recover faster after workouts, strengthen weakened areas that may have affect their performance, and develop their concentration.

Why do athletes need yoga?

Common injuries athletes face include the illiotibial band (ITB), knee, hamstrings, hip flexors and shoulders. These injuries are often a direct result of a lack of flexibility, poor core strength and/or misalignment. These can all be corrected through the practice of yoga.

5 warm-up yoga poses for athletes

Here are 5 yoga poses athletes should consider adding to their daily warm-ups.

1. Bridge:

This pose is essential for athletes because it unlocks the spine and opens the surrounding muscle groups. Lay on your back. Place your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Clasp your hands underneath you so that they are lined up with your spine, and arch your back while keeping your head, shoulders, and feet pressed to the ground. This post strengthens the back and spine for your body’s protection.

2. Cobra:

This pose helps to decompress the spine, which can help relieve any stress or tension in the area for athletes who lift heavy weights. Turn over onto your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Place your hands underneath you so they line up with your shoulders. Gently push yourself off so that your arms are straightened, but keep your thighs, knees and feet pressed to the floor. Keep your shoulders down and open your chest. Your gaze should be upward. Hold and feel the stretch along your spine and throughout your torso.

3. Dolphin Pose:

This pose works the whole body, stretching and preparing it for vigorous activity. Stand on your hands and knees with your forearms on the ground, so your shoulders are in line with your wrists. Press your palms together, curl your toes underneath you, and then lift your knees away from the floor. You should feel this stretch in your upper back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and feet. This pose will attack any sore spots that could hinder performance.

4. Hindu Squats:

This next pose strengthens the ankles, knees and feet, as well as the connective tissue surrounding these joints, making this pose imperative before doing activities that require the use of the lower body. Stand so that your feet are shoulder width apart, but at a 45-degree angle, and clasp your hands in front of you. Bend into a squat and keep lowering your body until your backside touches your ankles and your elbows are in front of your knees.

5. Reclining Big Toe Pose:

This last pose targets the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groin and calves, while also strengthening the knees. The most important thing it targets, however, is the IT band, which can be especially tight in runners. Lie with your back on the ground with your legs stretched in front of you. Then, bend one knee and use your arms to pull your thigh into your chest. Next, take your big toe and slowly extend it towards the ceiling. For more of a stretch, you can take it to the right or the left of your body, to target all of your muscles. And, or course, repeat on the other side. Prevent injury and protect your body with yoga

These 5 yoga poses might seem simple, but they are extremely helpful for an athlete to add to their warm-up in order protect and prevent their body from injury. If you are interested in adding yoga into your regular schedule, contact one of our yogis any time and connect with us on Facebook.