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Copyright © Clifford Sweatte. All rights reserved.
Training run with (L-R) Thom Birch, Beryl Bender Birch and Clifford Sweatte, Oregon coast. In Loving Memory of Thom Birch (1954-2006)
Teaching yoga at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon with Thom Birch
How would an athlete who devotes a great deal of physical and emotional energy to their sport benefit by incorporating
Ashtanga Yoga into their daily routine?
Following my youth playing baseball, football and surfing, I moved to the west coast to follow my dreams of surfing the world’s waves and skiing the Rockies. It was during this period that I also began my Ashtanga Yoga practice. Later, when I took up the multi-sport discipline of triathlon, my days consisted of masters swim workouts, miles of running the roads and trails of San Diego County, and training rides with the likes of the two and six-time Ironman Champions, Scott Tinley and Mark Allen and others. At this point it became clear to me that my success and ability to remain injury-free was a result of my daily yoga practice.
Incorporating yoga into one’s sports program will yield greater flexibility, range of motion, concentration, strength and higher performance whether at the professional level or as a weekend or youth athlete. Techniques that include the ability to immediately allow the body to relax and focus during pressure situations (between pitches, before a set piece in a soccer match, or at the starting blocks) can enhance concentration and maximize your enjoyment of athletics. The rigors of repetitive use and maximum efforts take their toll on the body. Yoga can help maximize performance and reduce injuries by increasing core strength and balancing musculature. When used as a recovery tool, yoga will help restore energy levels.
A 2011 study published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine found that after six months of almost-daily Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara, the first pose in the Ashtanga Yoga series) and no other resistance training, young men and women could bench-press significantly more weight and complete far more push-ups and pull-ups than at the start of the study.
Incorporating yoga into your sports program will help you reach your full potential to be counted among the next generation of complete athletes. How good can you be? I'd like to help you find out!