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The practice of yoga has been proven to calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It also improves flexibility and balance and can be a great asset for professional and amateur athletes.

Yoga involves a variety of physical poses, breathing techniques and meditative processes. Even practicing for one hour a week or 20 minutes each day can have significant mental, emotional and physical benefits, according to yoga practitioners.

While some athletes may dismiss yoga, thinking it too easy or simple, many experts recommend athletes practice yoga in order to prevent injury and maintain their mental health.

There are several yoga poses, also called “asanas,” that can particularly benefit athletes. These include:

  • Backbends and bridges. These poses stretch and strengthen the muscles that surround the spine.
  • Pigeon pose and lizard pose. These poses can stretch out the hips and hip flexors, which is important for maintaining form and preventing injury.
  • Dancer’s pose. This pose opens the chest, increases lung capacity and can help improve balance.
  • Pyramid pose. This pose stretches and lengthens the legs and also tones the core.

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