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Why NFL players are combining yoga with traditional training

16th April 2018

Why NFL players are combining yoga with traditional training
Athletes are always searching for ways to sharpen their physical edge, both physically and mentally. This isn't just to improve their performance on game day, but also to help them overcome nerves and injuries. Luckily for professional athletes, over the last few years, there have been simple exercises designed to prepare the mind and body for the unique challenges you might face both on and off the field.

Whilst yoga has become popular amongst the general public, it is relatively new to the world of athletes. With some athletes still being skeptical of the stigmas attached to yoga. For example, it's association with the alternative lifestyle. These ideas have been blown out the water over the last few years however as many athletes recognise the real value associated with sport specific yoga. Many top athletes including Ray Lewis, Victor Cruz, and Vernon Davies have recognized the advantages of Yoga and accordingly worked it into their training regimes.

NFL coaches are increasingly using yoga and mindfulness to provide the necessary toolbox for players to cope and relax under enormous amounts of stress.

Physical benefits of yoga to football players?

American football players have discovered that working yoga into traditional strength and conditioning programs can result in an improved performance. By carefully tailoring a session to an individual's needs, they increase flexibility, strength, endurance and balance by identifying muscle imbalances. This helps athletes avoid injury and reduce recovery time.

The top athletes have an innate ability to read the game and judge space around them, this is something that can rarely be taught – except through yoga. Athletics and yoga evolve from the same root of building muscle memory. The more athletes practice yoga, the better their body awareness will be. This allows athletes to find space more instinctively.

Improved joint mobility

By adding a few simple yoga stretches, NFL players increase their joint mobility and muscle protection, reducing the chance of injuries and improving recovery from injuries. Injuries can make or break a season, teams such as the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, and the Philadelphia Eagles have implemented yoga in their training and practices keeping their players on the field.
The connection between the mind and football

Many athletes choose to work yoga into their practice for the physical benefits. What people don't recognise is the advantages of an increased sense of calm, mental balance and clarity. A tailored yoga practice can improve relaxation in times of stress and reduce mental and physical tension. By placing athletes in unfamiliar circumstances, yoga can help participants learn to control their breathing and become mindful of their heart rate.

The breathing and calming techniques that athletes learn during yoga practice will help them have a clear and focused mind on the field. In this way, athletes can fully harness their mental powers and minimise doubt and uncertainty which can hold them back on game day.

NFL Teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, and San Francisco 49ers have added yoga to the psychological side of player success as a tactic to prepare their players for the big games.

Improved Player Focus and awareness

Professional NFL athletes have begun incorporating a combination of yoga postures into their pre-game warm-ups and training schedules. This allows them to quieten their minds and heighten their body awareness. These foundations help athletes to become more focused, aware and allow external pressures to fade into the background.

How can I find a yoga class?

All you need to do to find local yoga studios across the USA on Yoga Class Near You. On the YCNY website, all you need to do is search using your location and you will be able to see the nearest yoga classes, workshops, and events to you.

You don't have to be a professional athlete or NFL player to benefit from yoga and mindfulness just enrol in a local yoga class.

You can then choose a studio that suits you and contact them with any questions you may have. The instructor will then be able to get in touch with you and answer any questions and get you booked in for your first class!