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Why Should Gymnasts Do Yoga?

Why should gymnasts do yoga? Yoga has the potential to help gymnasts with injury prevention, body posture and awareness, stress relief, and better focus. It also increses athletes strength and flexibility.

Let’s be honest, gymnastics is one of the hardest sports in the world. It is incredibly hard on the body. Every day there are many different exercises such as heavy jumps, landings and conditioning that pound on the joints and muscles. The dynamic nature of gymnastics creates imbalance in the body. Often there are muscle groups that are trained much harder than others causing an imbalance. This can lead weaker muscles to overcompensate when they are needed. This also occurs in flexibility training with more focus being put on stretching splits and backs to achieve higher skill difficulty while other parts are simply forgotten about. Since everything is connected it is only logical to bring those parts into the mix and find balance through the practice of yoga.  Practicing yoga helps to strengthen weak spots and open tight areas in turn helping to stabilize the joints and increase body awareness.


Often with competition and school comes stress which can be stored in athlete’s bodies leading to tighter muscles. Due to the amount of training that has to go into learning so many difficult skills, we often don’t have enough time to spend on stretching besides over splits. In my experience, I have found that many gymnasts have really tight hips and I feel like we don’t spend time on this area. After a few of my athletes complained about pain in this area, I showed them a few great hip opener yoga poses. They started practicing them after training and also at home.  With time our gymnasts' hips began to improve. Of course I explained how important it is to focus on their deep inhale and exhale while holding these poses. The breathing associated with yoga postures will also aide in getting extra oxygen to the muscles which will help eliminate muscle fatigue, tension and soreness. 

Gymnastics requires a lot of concentration, stamina and focus. The highly competitive

environment (pressure from coaches, parents and the gymnasts on themselves) creates a high level of stress during competition season. Looking back at my gymnastics career, I was very lucky. I really didn’t have any stress or pressure from my coaches and parents. Everone was just happy and supportive. We had a great environment in our gymnastics club in Budapest. Of course I became nervous during big competitions (Olympic,World,European) but I loved competing. My coaches always told me to take some deep breaths before I went up on beam and it helped me enormously. Actually, meditation and breathing exercises can help gymnasts to mentally prepare themselves better and keep calm during competitions. 

Yoga practice is designed to balance body and mind and will help gymnasts to become more stable and focused. I highly advise coaches and gymnasts to try and find time to integrate yoga into their weekly training schedule. Just 10-15 minutes of daily yoga could make a big difference in an athletes body. I do yoga about 4-5 times a week and it really helps me to maintain and increase my strength and flexibility as well as keeping me out of pain that was once a part of my day to day life. 

You can follow me on Facebook and Instragam -Andrea Molnar Yoga. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/Andreamolnaryoga/

I will come out with some longer yoga videos on YouTube and will post it on my facebook site. 


Meet the Author: Andrea Molnar

My name is Andrea Molnar. I was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. I am a two time former olympic gymnast. I started coaching gymnastics in 1996 in Budapest. I coached in the USA from 2000-2017. I moved to Oslo,Norway in 2017 August.


My passion for choreography is driven by a love for creative expression and the gratification of seeing young aspiring gymnast achieve their goals and dreams. I started coaching gymnastics in 1996 and I choreographed my first floor routine in 2000.

 

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