Yoga for Soccer

As seen in Nature’s Pathways Northeast Wisconsin Sept 2015 edition!

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Yoga for soccer

soccer ball

Soccer is on many minds these days. Whether playing it, watching a friend/family member play it or following the World Cup, it’s an exciting time of the year! It is a versatile sport too! Have you ever considered how soccer is like yoga? It can be enjoyed indoors or out, any age can participate and benefit, it brings people together, it requires focus and mindfulness, and it improves health and well-being.

Yoga is a fantastic partner activity to soccer as well! Soccer is a sport in which most players are dominant in one leg, resulting in significant asymmetries in their bodies. Most soccer athletes are 80 percent dominant in one leg! Much time is spent planting and holding ground with one leg, using gluteal muscles and hamstrings. The majority of kicking is done with the other leg, using hip flexors and quadriceps. Yoga can provide balance and symmetry to the body to correct the issues caused to hips and spine by this lopsided sport. Yoga also improves flexibility, range of motion and endurance!

These yoga postures will target the lower body muscles — primarily the hip flexors and hamstrings — to improve flexibility. For the Lunge and Warrior postures, hold the pose longer when the dominant leg is back to help correct imbalances.

Downward Facing Dog: lengthens spine, opens shoulders, heels, calves and hamstrings

Crescent Lunge: stretches hip flexors

Warrior I: increases strength in legs, back and ankles; improves hip flexibility

Warrior II: opens hips, strengthens and stretches legs and ankles

Warrior III: increases ankle stretch and builds stability

Twisting Low Lunge: stretches back, thighs and iliapsoas; creates spinal space

Chair with Hip Opener: strengthens gluteus medius; opens hips, develops balance

Reclined Butterfly: stretches inner thigh and groin muscles

Half Pigeon Pose: opens hips, lengthens gluteus medium and iliapsoas

Seated Forward Bend: stretches back and hamstrings

Hero Pose: increases flexibility in hips, knees and upper thighs

Of course these poses can benefit the soccer spectator as well as the athlete! If you are a yoga newbie or recovering from an injury, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of a trained yoga teacher before attempting these poses on your own.




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