The athlete has evolved over the years. Once simply focused on training for the routines and drills of an individual sport, the athlete now trains in various other exercises. Training for competitive sports has expanded to strength training, conditioning, focusing on speed and agility. It is this goal of increased mobility and a shorter recovery time that has lead to the connection between Yoga and competitive sports.
Yoga started as a form of mediation and relaxation. Breathing exercises and stretches to promote overall health and spiritual well-being. Yoga has also been used as a tool to increase flexibility and mobility. Individuals that are overweight or have joint pain have used Yoga to increase the ease of their movements and to perform less strenuous exercise. These results of increased flexibility have crossed over to the world of professional sports.
Competitive sports are changing constantly, always looking for ways to improve the athlete. The athlete is always striving to be able to recover faster, increasing his speed, agility, strength and endurance. The combination of these improvements makes for a better athlete and thus a better performance. In the wake of the aftermath of Human Growth Hormone scandals and the taboo subject of supplements, athletes are turning to other ways to improve their performance. This leads to new forms of training and exercise, yoga being one of the leaders. Yoga stretches your muscles making them stronger, more flexible and agile. Greater agility leads not only to better performances in sports but fewer injuries. The natural healing power of yoga through stretches and breathing means faster recovery times for injuries and muscle wear and tear. The power of yoga once thought of as spiritual remedies for mediators has entered the realm of competitive sports with the results being very positive.
Yoga of course varies in form and is adapted to ones needs. Yoga for mediation and breathing exercises is going to different in form than yoga for flexibility and overall health. Yoga for training for professional sports is going to be very different in nature and form but the basics will stay the same focusing on forms of stretching positions with proper breathing. Yoga is practice at all different levels. Some positions are simple involving basic stretches or sitting positions breathing while eyelids are shut. Some yoga positions are complicated and require great flexibility in being able to perform. It is the variations of yoga that allow it to be used as part of conditioning for almost any sport. Professional sports for competitive athletes almost seem incomplete in training without yoga conditioning. In competing for flexibility the athlete is competing in his sport.