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      Athlete Perspectives on 8-Weeks of Yoga Practice

      1 , 2 , 3

      Spotlight on Yoga Research

      Spotlight on Research

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          Abstract

          Abstract Introduction: Over the past few decades yoga participation has been enjoyed by a wide range of individuals, including athletes looking for new and effective ways to improve performance. With little evidence to suggest the positive impact that yoga may have on athletic endeavors, such participation is met with varied success. Methods: For this qualitative inquiry 19 male college athletes (baseball and soccer players) participated in a weekly yoga program for 8 weeks which included a 60 minute class with both asanas and pranayama; and they were interviewed by researchers upon the completion of the 8-week program using semi-structured interview questions. Results: In an effort to identify best approaches this study looked at perceptions of athlete’s (N=19) reflection in taking part in 8-weeks of yoga. Findings from this inquiry suggest that overall, athletes saw yoga as being as beneficial for joint flexibility and range of motion, improved body awareness, improved ability to concentrate, sense of relaxation, and a sense of support from the coaching staff. Interestingly, soccer players (n=9) believed they were more energized while baseball pitchers (n=10) believed they gained a greater comradery with teammates. When considering reflection themes overall, athletes reported benefits in stress management and physical ability, however, they were less likely to report gains in athletic performance and social interactions. Conclusions: As the Yoga Sutra denotes how the practice of yoga enhances connections between mind, body and spirit, it would seem that the opportunities for the benefits in yoga in athletics is at best being underutilized. Practitioners wanting to more readily assist athletes may want to consider the demands of a specific sport and proactively assist athletes to integrate holistic gains to performance. Keywords: yoga, sport, athlete, mind-body, performance

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Spotlight on Yoga Research
          Yoga Research
          Spotlight on Research
          July 12 2019
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Department of Science, Husson University, Bangor, ME 0440, United States
          [2 ]Department of Social Sciences, Husson University, Bangor, ME 0440, United States
          [3 ]Tucson, AZ
          Article
          10.35831/07122019jp
          © 2019

          The license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ lets others remix, adapt, and build upon the work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge the source and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

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