How Yoga Can Make You A Better Athlete

How can yoga make you a better athlete
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What kind of yoga should you do to supplement your training?

Stretching is good. You know that. In fact, we all know that we need to stretch more. But is yoga really a viable addition to a bodybuilding (or sport) training routine?

What Even Is Yoga? 6 of the Most Popular Classes Explained…

If you’re a total yoga newbie, you probably know that it involves stretching – and that’s about it. The thing is, there are lots of different kinds of yoga. Here’s your guide to yoga classes.

  • Hatha Yoga is a slow, gentle form of yoga. You hold the poses for a few breaths, so it’s less of a flow than Vinyasa (see below). Hatha is about the physical poses and breathing – a great way to start yoga and learn the ropes.
  • Vinyasa Yoga is faster paced than Hatha and will get your heart rate up. It links the poses together in a kind of flow, so you don’t spend long in any pose. Vinyasa can also be done to music, so it has a more upbeat atmosphere.
  • Iyengar Yoga is about the detail of each pose, with the teacher going around the class adjusting each person’s alignment. You’ll use props like blocks and straps to get you deeper into each pose. Iyengar is to yoga what coaching drills and cues are to lifting.
  • Bikram Yoga is a specific type of hot yoga, done in 40*C heat. Classes are 90 minutes long and each one is the same specific 26 poses in order.
  • Hot Yoga (like the Hotpod franchise in the UK) is also done in a heated environment, but it’s not Bikram. Hot yoga tends to be 36-38*C and only 60 minutes, with familiar poses done in a different flow depending on the teacher.
  • Yin Yoga is more meditative and works on deeper connective tissue and fascia – great if you’ve been injured or are prone to tightness. The poses are slow so you have plenty of time to really relax into them.

How Can Yoga Help Me?

Think of yoga as a valuable addition to your weekly training routine. Be honest, how much time do you actually spend stretching? Yoga is a dedicated stretch session, with the added benefit of being led through stretches you wouldn’t necessarily think of yourself. You’ll get deep into the poses, stretching through different planes of motion. All those tight bits of your body – hip flexors, chest, shoulders, adductors, mid back – will be stretched and encouraged into better movement.

10 Reasons to Roll Out the Yoga Mat

  • Stretching
  • Rotation
  • Hip opening
  • Stability
  • Core work
  • Balance
  • Proprioception
  • Avoiding injury
  • Relaxation
  • Mindfulness

But What If I’m Not Bendy?

You don’t have to be bendy to do yoga. For one thing, nobody is looking at you (they’re too busy thinking about their own bendiness). And for another thing, your bendiness is the whole reason for going. You started training to be stronger, didn’t you? Go to yoga if you’re not bendy. That’s when you need it more than ever. Seriously, not everybody in a yoga class is limber and lithe. Go, give it a try, and enjoy the benefits.

Do You Need Supplements for Yoga?

You might assume yoga needs no supplementation, but it’s smart to think about what you drink during class. A good intra workout like Complete Intra-Workout™, or BCAA drink would see you through a Hatha or Iyengar class. But if you do Bikram or Hot yoga, you’ll sweat more than any cardio! Think plenty of fluids plus electrolytes. Try filling your water bottle with Coconut Water Powder, Electrolyte Powder, or Complete Hydration Drink™.


Nicola Joyce has been writing for (and about) sport, fitness, nutrition and healthy living since 2004. She’s also a keen sportswoman: her background is in endurance sport but she now competes as a natural bodybuilder, most recently winning a world title with the INBF. When she’s not writing content, she can be found blogging. Follow her here and on Facebook & Twitter (@thefitwriter) too.

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