If you're an athlete, rolling out the yoga mat and saying, "Namaste" likely isn't on your list of things to do after practice, but I've got three reasons why you should.
1. Aids in Recovery. Lactic acid build up is a constant in athletes' muscles. When lactic acid builds up, the muscles fatigue quicker and become sore. A yoga practice efficiently circulates the lactic acid out of the muscles and into the blood stream where it will be processed through the liver.
2. Improves Mental Clarity. The beautiful thing about yoga is that it combines a physical practice with breathing and relaxation techniques that train the body to work hard, but the mind to be calm and clear. Using these techniques off the mat and during an athlete's training, game preparation, and in the sport itself can be vital to consistent improvement and success.
3. Reduces Injury. Sports like golf, hockey, baseball and tennis are dominant on one side of the body. While everyone has a side they're slightly stronger on, athletes who play sports like these take it to the extreme which renders their bodies off balance. Yoga can be key to preventing this musculoskeletal imbalance from leading to injury or chronic pain issues.
So, athletes, get out there on the mat, take a deep breath, and get your yoga on!