Jan 29, 2015
Session Notes: Yoga for Athletes

At a great session called “Yoga Therapy,” Kimberly Gray, MS, ATC, of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, discussed a theory on why yoga is growing in popularity among athletes and the population at large. She suggested that the more our daily lives take us away from the movement patterns and muscle engagements that we evolved as a species performing, the greater the risk for dysfunction and imbalances throughout the body. In other words, humans weren’t designed to sit at desks all day, and especially not to lean forward and stare at computer screens.

Gray then got into specifics on some yoga poses, or “asanas,” that practitioners can use with athletes to address various dysfunctions. She drew several interesting parallels between yoga movements or poses and traditional athletic training tests–in some cases, they’re practically identical.

For instance, an asana called Ardha Apanasana, which involves raising one knee to the chest while lying supine, is essentially the same thing as the well-know Thomas Test for assessing glute and hip joint capsule flexibility in the flexed leg, the length of the iliopsoas in the extended leg, and overall core stability.

The applications for yoga in athletics and the parallels between yoga principles and traditional conditioning methods are subjects we continue to learn about at T&C. Are you interested in reading more on this topic? We welcome your feedback on this or any other subject you’d like to see covered in the magazine or on our Web site–you’re always invited to drop us a line at [email protected].

To read a recent T&C article about one type of sports-related yoga, used successfully with Northwestern University athletes by practitioner Darryl Aiken-Afam, click here.

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