Yoga for Athletes: 4 Ways to Advance Your Practice

Yoga for Athletes

4 Ways to Advance Your Practice

No matter what type of athlete you are, yoga can improve your performance. Yoga builds strength, flexibility, and balance to keep your body in peak condition and prevent injury.

However, like other workouts, your yoga practice can plateau. If your yoga flow has started to feel like you’re just going through the motions, why not introduce new challenges into your yoga practice? These are four tips, tools, and tech you can use to keep things interesting on the mat.

This is a guest article by Jason Lewis from StrongWell.org!

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1 – Set Goals for Yourself

Yoga might not be your primary athletic pursuit, but progressing in yoga requires setting goals and tracking results just like your cardio and strength training does. If logging workouts in a notebook is a little too old-school for you, download an app to set weekly and monthly goals for yourself. You can use a Best Fitness App, or a yoga-specific app with progress-tracking features, like Pocket Yoga. Or even a general fitness tracking app like Fitness Buddy or MyFitnessPal.

If you’re sporting an outdated phone that doesn’t support the latest apps, use this as the push you need to finally upgrade. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go broke just to replace your smartphone; even the iPhone XS is only $41.66 a month through a provider like Verizon. Android users also have options at all budget levels, and it only takes a little research to find the right one.

2 – Find a Teacher You Click With

Most people tend to stick with the same few routines when practicing yoga at home. Searching for videos is tedious, and once you find an instructor and flow that you like, it’s easier to return to an old favorite than sift through the countless options online.

Taking a yoga class can be just what you need to push your practice to the next level. In class, there’s no fast-forwarding through sequences or turning the video off early. And with an instructor to mix things up each time, you’re forced to stay alert in order to keep pace.

You’ll get more out of a yoga class if you find an instructor you enjoy learning from. Look for instructors who teach your preferred yoga style, whether that’s Vinyasa, Bikram, Ashtanga, or another yoga variant, then test out different classes until you find a teacher who makes you feel comfortable yet motivated in your yoga practice.

3 – Incorporate Mini-Sessions Into Your Practice

If you struggle to find the motivation for full-length yoga practice, give yourself permission to practice for as little as seven minutes at a time. You might not get the same physical workout you’d get from a 60-minute flow, but short sessions are a great centering activity. Incorporate seven-minute flows into your morning and bedtime routines, squeeze a session into breaks at work, or intersperse high-intensity workouts with yoga stretches to prevent stiff muscles.

4 – Attend a Yoga Workshop

Is there one yoga skill that keeps tripping you up? If something is holding your yoga practice back, a yoga workshop is a great chance to overcome it. Workshops let yogis dive deep into one particular skill or pose, and with more opportunity for one-on-one work, you can get the expert advice you need to step up your practice.

Yoga workshops might focus on mastering an advanced pose, learning yogic breathing styles, improving alignment and posture, overcoming an injury, or another topic. Ask your instructor if you’re not sure where to find yoga workshops near you.

There’s no one right way to practice yoga. Maybe you practice yoga as a “rest day” activity, or perhaps yoga is a core part of your fitness routine. No matter how you approach yoga, you should always strive to grow in your practice.

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