Can you feel it? The NFL football season is getting underway as the pre-season is kicking in gear. Yoga can be beneficial to any sport and football is not exception. The big, tough guys can sweat with the best of them. In football you have to be strong and balanced to take the bending, twisting, stretching, slamming, pounding and whatever else gets thrown at you (other than the football itself) at any given moment. Yoga, the mind connection, breathing combined with yoga poses and stretching gives an added dimension for your game.
Lets look at some specific yoga poses beneficial for football players.
4 Hip Opening Yoga Poses
1. Cobbler’s Pose or Bound Angle Pose
In a seated position bend your knees, touch soles of your feet together while grabbing your ankles with your hands. Fold forward with straight back and hold for 5-8 breaths.
2. Fire Logs Pose
In a seated position bend one knee (bottom leg) so that the shin is parallel to your body, lift the other leg on top of the bottom leg – ankle to the knee on both sides, shins stack on top of each other like logs. If your hips are tights, you will feel this pose! If your hips allow you to, bend forward from your hips over your legs. Stay for a few breaths and slowly move out of the posture.
3. Cow Face Pose
Start in seated position. Bend your knees and cross your legs. Knees stack on top of each other. Left foot and sole is next to the outside of your right hip and the right foot is next to the outside of your left hip. Try sitting evenly and balanced on both sitbones. Add in the stretch for shoulders to complete the Cow Face posture. Right arm goes up and hand reaches down to your middle back. Left arm goes down, bending from elbow with left hand reaching up to your middle back. Hook right fingers to left if that is available to you. Breathe and stay in the pose for 60 seconds.
4. One Legged King Pigeon Pose
Start in Lunge with right leg forward and knee bent. Place hands on the floor on either side of right leg. Slowly work the foot of the right leg towards your left hand, keeping the foot on the floor. Right knees is close to right hand. Shin parallel to body. Gently lower yourself down. Left leg stays straight and pointing straight back. Hips are pointed forward and equally balanced. Breathe to where it feels tight. Stay in the pose for 60 seconds. Slowly come back to lunge and repeat to the other side.