Hot Yoga: Secret to Top Athletes’ Success?
OK maybe we wouldn’t go that far, but whatever your sport and whatever your level – weekend amateur to full-time professional – the benefits of hot yoga are unquestionable. Many athletes, including Andy Murray and England football star Lianne Sanderson, swear by Bikram’s many benefits, both in its own right and as a complement to their own training. Here’s why…
Prevents Injury & Aids Recovery
If you’re a runner, you train by running. If you’re a cyclist, you cycle. Etcetera. This kind of specific training can cause certain muscles to be ignored and can lead to injury. Yoga focuses on the whole body, so no muscle gets left out. And Bikram is a low impact way to train and recover from injury – there’s no pressure on your joints with hot yoga.
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research measured the flexibility (among other things) of students before and after an eight-week course of Bikram yoga. After the course all the students displayed increased flexibility in the trunk, hips, hamstrings and shoulders. They’d also lost a small amount of body-fat, if yours is the kind of sport where leanness is key.
Improves Breath Control
You can enhance your sports performance by 15% when you exercise proper breathing, according to a Portsmouth University study. Hot yoga can help you learn how to do this, with its emphasis on breathing through poses.
Improves Strength & Stamina
Calling all marathon runners / triathletes / boxers, etc: Bikram yoga’s core-strengthening, gentle, whole-body workout, is great for building endurance and stamina.
Stress is so damaging to athletes: you can’t be in the zone when your mind’s all over the place and you can’t sleep at night for worrying. Well, guess what? Bikram can help. Research has found that a course of hot yoga increases mindfulness and decreases stress levels.
Bikram helps train your mind to block distractions by forcing you to concentrate on your breath and your body; vital for athletes, for whom distractions can mean the difference between winning or losing, a PB or an average performance.
Improves Mental Strength
The Bikram studio’s heat and humidity combined with the learning of the 26 postures and persevering to improve your practice is excellent training in self-control, determination, concentration and patience. In short, Bikram + specific training = improvement, whatever your athletic discipline.