Yoga Exercises For Soccer

By Patricia | April 26, 2009
Yoga Exercises For Soccer

How is yoga a good exercise for soccer?

Although yoga is not a sport, practicing yoga can certainly improve how well you play a sport. Yoga is an ancient discipline that originated in India more than 5000 years ago. This therapy is well renowned for its strengthening and healing benefits, of both the body and mind.

Yoga makes use of postures or ‘asanas’ and breathing techniques called ‘pranayama’ to help heal and rejuvenate the body. The word ‘yoga’ is translated as ‘union’, referring to the union of the body and mind that this therapy brings about. Thus, yoga can help make your body and mind fitter to play a demanding sport like soccer. Yoga places a huge emphasis on balance, flexibility, and mental discipline, traits essential for a sport like soccer too. Simple yoga exercises are a great way to warm up before soccer practice or loosen up after a game. The incidence of injuries can also be reduced if you practice yoga as it also sharpens your reflexes.

Specific exercises include poses like the spread-leg forward fold or ‘Upavista Konasana’. In this pose, you sit on the floor with your legs parted as wide as possible. Then lean forward and place your hands on the floor. Maintain this stretch for 15 seconds and rise back up. Repeat this about 10-15 times. With this posture, the hamstrings and calf muscles are stretched making them more flexible. This is a good yoga pose to begin soccer practise with.

In order to provide your legs with the necessary power, your back muscles need to be strong. The dog pose or the Adho Mukha Svanasana is useful for this. To do this pose, you sit on the floor on all fours. After this, gently lift up your hips alone while keeping your legs and hands completely stretched out. Make sure that your back is fully straight. Return to the original pose and repeat this 10-15 times as well. This exercise strengthens your back muscles.

A good exercise to finish soccer practice with is the hero pose or ‘Virasana’. This is a simple pose where you need to kneel down with your feet pointing backwards. Keep your back straight and take in deep breaths. This pose will loosen your hips, knees and ankles and relax your joints after a tiring workout.

You can also practise breathing techniques like ‘Ujjayi’ breathing to help calm yourself. For this exercise, take in full deep breaths through both nostrils for at least 10 minutes. This will increase your breath-holding time and strengthen your lungs thus increasing your endurance levels.

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