Yoga was developed in Northern India around 5,000 years ago. It has become a very popular way of keeping body and mind in shape. So, why not Yoga for Hockey Players?

Why do people practice yoga?

Yoga can improve muscle strength and flexibility, as well as improving breathing. It uses a variety of carefully designed stretches and poses. Each of which can contribute to enhanced athletic performance and improved protection against injury. There are various styles of yoga. Hatha Yoga is one version which has become popular in recent years. Some styles of yoga emphasise the importance of meditation, which can improve focus and enhance calmness.

Yoga for Hockey Players – is it for you?

If you’re an ambitious hockey player, do the benefits described above persuade you that contorting your body into unfamiliar shapes in an overheated room, whilst possibly meditating, is the way to get yourself to the next level? Probably not, and I’m not going to bend over backwards (a little yoga humor!) to convince you of the general benefits of yoga. Instead, let’s look specifically at how it can help hockey players.

Why do NHL players use yoga?

Many NHL and AHL players have spoken about how yoga has helped them. One thing that many coaches will appreciate is the contribution it makes to injury prevention. Especially in terms of over-use injuries. If players have greater core strength and flexibility, muscle strains, especially in the back and upper leg areas, are less likely. Muscle soreness after tough bouts of training or matches tends to be reduced in those who practice yoga. From a technical viewpoint, reaching towards the puck with your stick when checking requires a degree of flexibility and stability that yoga can really help with. Yoga also helps players to calm their minds and sleep better.

Who uses it?

If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of yoga for hockey players, you should be aware that teams such as the Capitals, Maple Leafs and Canadiens have all gone public about the yoga programs that their players follow. Some players take further classes voluntarily, feeling that it will help them play better for longer. Players like Ryan O’Reilly, Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton have all spoken of their enthusiasm for yoga. Even notoriously tough enforcers such as Jared Boll and Brandon Prust have extolled the virtues of incorporating yoga in their training program. Boll began taking yoga classes in an attempt to resolve long-standing back problems, and feels it has really improved his balance and stability. Prust was keen on Bikram Yoga, and took regular classes.

What are you waiting for?

If you want to be the best hockey player you can be, yoga needs to be part of your training. You’ll be more flexible, stronger, less injury-prone and possibly calmer. Some of the toughest players in the hockey leagues are practicing it. Why not subscribe to an online yoga class or download a yoga program today? Hatha or Bikram Yoga are the types that most hockey players find suitable. These are mainly intended to produce a challenging workout, rather than focusing on relaxation and meditation.

Our 10 Reasons Why Hockey Players Should Practice Yoga


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