What is performance yoga?
Let's start by discussing what performance yoga is not. The goal is NOT to make the athlete able to do the splits, or get into a handstand. Performance yoga's goal is not flexibility. This is a perception created by social media that yoga's only goal is to make the body bend in unnatural ways.
Performance yoga IS designed to athletically enhance the body by coordinating breath with movements that mimic the athlete's sport. Performance yoga is not a traditional yoga. As athletes, some tightness is necessary for power and explosiveness. If the athlete is too flexible, he or she may not have a quick first step necessary for so many sports.
Why do you need performance yoga?
Yoga exposes the body's weaknesses and imbalances. Once the weakness and imbalance is identified, yoga can provide the postures necessary to rebuild and rebalance the body to it's peak position. These imbalances and weaknesses are caused by overuse and exhaustion and is not the sole solution for true injury. Once the body has fixed these imbalances rather than compensating for them, the athlete will be moving more effectively and more efficiently.
As coordinate breath with movement, the body is learning to enhance the function of the circulatory system. This enhancement can increase oxygen intake during athletic competition and therefore leads to faster muscle recovery.
Every posture in a performance yoga class works a different aspect of the core, creating a balanced and stronger center of gravity that optimizes any athletic performance.
Teacher cues force the body to move in proper alignment. When the athlete moves through the postures in proper alignment, the muscles learn the correct way to work together and leads to a decrease in muscle imbalances and compensation in the future.
At the end of class, clearing the mind relaxing the body teaches a skill that all athletes need after finishing competition. After an athletic event, the healthiest form of recovery is to relax, reflect and release any tension and bad feelings associated with one's performance. The relaxation technique at the end of a performance yoga class helps the athlete to relax the mind and let go of any stressors within the body.
Still don't believe me?
Check out these 15 professional athletes who practice yoga. Yes, Lebron James does yoga. So should you.