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Can yoga improve athletic performance?

Yes, yoga can improve athletic performance by enhancing various aspects of physical and mental fitness. The positive effects of yoga on athletes are seen in enhanced flexibility, strength, balance, and mental focus.

1. Flexibility is a key component of athletic performance, and yoga has been found to significantly improve flexibility in athletes. A study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that collegiate male athletes who incorporated regular yoga practice into their training regimen experienced increased flexibility and balance compared to those who did not practice yoga, and this was suggested to enhance athletic performances that require these characteristics.

2. Yoga enhances muscular strength and balance, both of which are essential for athletic performance. There are positive effects of yoga on balance, proprioception, and body control in athletes. Improved balance and proprioception contribute to better movement coordination and injury prevention.

3. Yoga incorporates mindfulness and breathing techniques that can enhance mental focus and relaxation, which are vital for athletes during training and competition. Yoga practice improved attention and concentration in collegiate athletes.

The combination of physical and mental benefits offered by yoga can optimize athletic performance. Integrating yoga into an athlete's training routine, particularly during recovery periods, can lead to enhanced overall performance.


  1. Polsgrove, M. J., Eggleston, B. M., & Lockyer, R. J. (2016). Impact of 10-weeks of yoga practice on flexibility and balance of college athletes. International journal of yoga, 9(1), 27–34.

  2. Telles, S., Hanumanthaiah, B., Nagarathna, R., & Nagendra, H. R. (1993). Improvement in static motor performance following yogic training of school children. Perceptual and motor skills, 76(3 Pt 2), 1264–1266.

  3. Tran, M. D., Holly, R. G., Lashbrook, J., & Amsterdam, E. A. (2001). Effects of Hatha Yoga Practice on the Health-Related Aspects of Physical Fitness. Preventive cardiology, 4(4), 165–170.

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