Here are Yoga Poses Every Athlete Must Do

Lengthen your stride and strengthen your core with these full body movements.

If you want to improve flexibility and increase freedom of movement, yoga is the key. But there are other reasons to include yoga in your everyday life, especially if you are an athlete. For starters, yoga can help relieve stress, prevent health-issue, increase mental focus, increase strength and much more, which is why it seamlessly serves as a perfect companion for any sport.

Whatever your game, these yoga poses will help you take it to the next level. Put on your shorts or leggings and sports bra, grab your yoga mat and start doing these movements.

CAT-COW HUSBANDRY (MARJARYASANA-BITILASANA)


In combination, these two yoga poses create a flow of synchronized breathing. Start your session with Cat-Cow to warm up the spine and relieve tension.

To do this pose: start on your hands and knees, wrists just below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Fingers should point forward. Keep your head in a neutral position and direct your gaze to the floor. Exhale and round the spine to the ceiling, dropping the head. Pull the abdominal muscles towards the spine, while keeping the hips raised. Inhale, loosen your spine and arch your back, lift your chest and gluteal muscles to the ceiling. Look ahead. Repeat 10 times.

DOWNWARD FACING DOG (ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA)
This basic pose stretches calves, shoulders and thighs while strengthening arms and legs.

To do this pose: start on all fours, pass your hands slightly in front of your shoulders with your fingertips forward and your hands shoulder-width apart. Curl toes and ground them into the ground. Exhale and push the sitting bones up towards the ceiling to create an inverted V shape. Spread your fingers wide and shift the weight into your hands. Direct your gaze to your belly button and hold it for 30 seconds to a minute.

COBRA POSTURE (BHUJANGASANA)
This strengthening posture stretches your spine and stretches the muscles surrounding you, as well as your glutes, abs, shoulders and chest.

To do this pose: lie on your stomach. Bend your elbows close to the body and place your hands directly under the shoulders. Press your quads, hips and toes into your mat. The room was very clean and the bed was very comfortable. Pull shoulders down and back and look slightly upwards. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds; exhale and lower to mat.

WARRIOR II (VIRABHADRASANA II)


This powerful posture strengthens the arms, legs and trunk, while opening the chest and shoulders.

To do this pose: start with a wide posture. Raise your arms sideways and parallel to the floor, palms down. Turn the right foot slightly in and the left foot out by 90 degrees. Exhale and bend the right knee, with the right thigh parallel to the floor. Press the outside of your left foot firmly into your mat as you stretch through your left leg. Turn your head to the right and look over your fingers. Hold down for 30 seconds to one minute; repeat on the opposite side.

BRIDGE POSTURE (SETU BANDHASANA)
This stimulating posture opens your chest and stretches your spine while strengthening glutes and thighs.

To do this pose: lie on your back. Bend your knees and put your heels close to the gluteal muscles, hands flat on the sides. Exhale and push through your feet, lifting your hips to the ceiling. Keep feet parallel and hip-width apart, knees over heels. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute; exhale and slowly lower your spine and hips to the mat.

BOW POSTURE (DHANURASANA)


This powerhouse pose strengthens the spine, arms, legs, chest, hip flexors and quadriceps.

To do this pose: lie on your stomach, arms on your sides, palms up. Put your chin on the floor. Exhale while bending your knees and lifting your feet towards the buttocks (use a strap if necessary). Grasp the outside of your ankles with your hands. Take a breath, lift your chest and thighs off the floor, and pull your ankles to the ceiling with your hands. Only your core should touch your mat at this point. Keep your head in a neutral position, making sure that your knees do not separate more than the width of your hips. Hold for 20-30 seconds; exhale and slowly lower back down.