Yoga in Sports
Yoga in Sports: General Benefits and a University Course for Sports Teachers
Dejan Dinevski, assoc.prof., PhD, Yoga in daily life teacher
Faculty of Education and Faculty of Medicine,
University of Maribor, Slovenia
The holistic benefits of yoga have been known for centuries and are well documented. On the other hand the beneficial use of yoga in sports was first reported in the late 1940’s. Yoga has been widely used by athletes since the 1970’s and today yoga practice is common across several sports disciplines. The reported and researched specific benefits of using yoga techniques like asanas, pranayams, meditation and yoga nidra in sports are: increased flexibility of joints and muscles, enhanced stability of joints, flexibility and strength of the mind, improved balance, increased strength of the whole body, improved form, efficiency and power, better concentration, mental focus, mental endurance and lower rate of injury and burnout. Yoga can be systematically used as a complement to sports training, to address any of the above-‐mentioned benefits or several of them at the same time. Yoga practice should be properly fit into the daily and weekly training schedule. There are several possible combinations, but two conditions are necessary for good results: (1) that yoga is taught by a skilled and experienced yoga teacher and (2) that yoga is practiced regularly over a longer period of time.
“Yoga in sports”-‐ is an integral part of the study curriculum for future sports teachers and trainers at the Faculty of Education, University of Maribor, Slovenia since 2008. Theoretical part of the course is designed according to the research findings and reported experiences of using yoga in sports, but also the ancient foundations of yoga, like the Rishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The practical part of the course (in addition to lectures the course consists of 15 hours of yoga practice) is made on the basis of the book, “The system Yoga in Daily Life” by M.M. Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. Yoga in daily life (YIDL) is a complete, holistic system that is ideal for athletes who decide to practice yoga. The YIDL system provides an extensive range of yoga techniques – asanas, pranayams, yoga nidra, relaxation and meditation – that are presented in systematic way with all the necessary details, important in the world of sports.