As seen in Nature’s Pathways Northeast Wisconsin Sept 2015 edition!
Yoga for soccer
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.