Friday, August 8, 2014

The Role of Yoga in the Daily Lives of Athletes

Yoga continues to increase in popularity throughout the United States among various populations, including athletes. Valorie Kondos-Field, a gymnastics coach at the University of California, Los Angeles, has identified yoga as one of the primary means of maintaining health for student-athletes under great physical and mental stress. Additionally, University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has cited yoga as a major means of relieving the pressure of the sport. Teams like the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia Eagles have employed yoga instructors, and sports stars like LeBron James and Vernon Davis to speak openly about the adoption of yoga as part of their regimen.

Many athletes have such a demanding schedule that they have little time to relax. Yoga forces them to slow down and pay attention to their bodies, which can significantly aid in the restorative process. Many athletes have also recognized the benefits of Bikram, also known as “hot” yoga, which individuals perform in a room set at about 105 degrees. The high temperature not only helps to loosen the muscles and mitigate soreness after games and practices, but also offers a mental challenge that many athletes enjoy.                            

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