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Yoga and Sports Psychology

Yoga and Sports Psychology. Desiree Williams. What is yoga?. Combine forces of the mind and body so they are not at odds with one another Three components: Pranayama Asana Meditation. Pranayama. Pranayama. Yogic breathing Central to its ideals and goals

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Yoga and Sports Psychology

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  1. Yoga and Sports Psychology Desiree Williams

  2. What is yoga? • Combine forces of the mind and body so they are not at odds with one another • Three components: • Pranayama • Asana • Meditation (Gilbert, 1999; Villien, Yu, Barthelemy, & Jammes, 2005)

  3. Pranayama

  4. Pranayama • Yogic breathing • Central to its ideals and goals • Breathing is a reflection of your emotions • Stress, anger, etc. can lead to shallow, rapid, irregular breathing patterns • Deep, regular breathing patterns can have the reverse effect, relieving stress and/or tension • Healthy babies breathe deeply and effortlessly using the abdomen (Gilbert, 1999; Weinberg & Gould, 2007))

  5. Pranayama and Sports Psychology • Root of most sports psychology methods for stress and anxiety reduction • Somatic (physical activation) anxiety reduction • Breath control before and/or during relaxation • Regulate pace and depth of breath to trigger a relaxation response • Often talk about a centering breath (Whythes; Weinberg & Gould, 2007)

  6. Asana

  7. Asanas • “seat” • Prepare body for rigors of meditation • Increases mental concentration • Focus is on one aspect of the pose and the present • Relax muscles through holding them in stretched position, relaxing muscle tensions (Gilbert, 1999)

  8. Asanas and Sports Psychology • Facilitates better body awareness, including proprioception • Athletes often unconscious of specific movement patterns during sport • Boyce article • Yoga makes movement patterns more conscious (Whythes; Oyao, 2000)

  9. Meditation • “Dhayna” is Sanskrit • Yogis’ CNS display tendencies toward parasympathetic dominance • As opposed to sympathetic nervous system • Parasympathetic • Active during resting and digestion • Body in anabolic state, rebuilding damaged cells and tissues (aids in recovery) • Decreased oxygen consumption, metabolic rate, breath rate, cardiac input, and blood lactates • Deep relaxation, increased mind-body coordination, faster reaction time, etc. (Oyao, 2000; Fredrick, 2008; Telles, Nagarathna, Nagendra, & Desiraju, 1993; Weinberg & Gould, 2007)

  10. Meditation and Sports Psychology • Like the relaxation response in Sports Psychology • Savasana • Essentially the same as Autogenic Training • Used to reduce cognitive anxiety • Warmth and heaviness in extremities and abdominal • Regulation of cardiac activity and breathing • Cooling of the forehead—“third eye” chakra (Salmon, Lush, Jablonski, & Sephton, 2009; Naoi & Ostrow, 2008; Weinberg & Gould, 2007)


  12. “There is no way I could have played for as long as I did without yoga . . . My friends and teammates think I made a deal with the devil. But it was yoga that made my training complete. As preventative medicine, it’s unequalled.” (Wythes)

  13. References • Gilbert, C. (1999). Yoga and breathing. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 3(1), 44-54. • Jenkins, L. (2004, March 3). Baseball; with help, piazza blends baseball with yoga. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/03/sports/baseball-with-help-piazza-blends-baseball-with-yoga.html • Naoi, A. & Ostrow, A. (2008). The effects of cognitive and relaxation interventions on injured athletes’ mood and pain during rehabilitation. Athletic Insight, 10(1), Retrieved from http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol10Iss1/InterventionsInjury.htm • Oyao, D. (2000). Yoga therapy and chiropractic for peak athletic performance. Dynamic Chiropractic, 18(17), Retrieved from http://www.chiroweb.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=31839 • Salmon, P., Lush, E., Jablonski, M., & Sephton, S.E. (2009). Yoga and mindfulness: Clinical aspects of an ancient mind/body practice. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16, 59-72. • Telles, S., Nagarathna, R., Nagendra, H.R. & Desiraju, T. (1993). Physiological changes in sports teachers following 3 months of training in yoga. Indian Journal of Medical Sciences, 47 (10), 235-238. • Villien, F., Yu, M., Pierre, B. & Jammes, Y. (2005). Training to yoga respiration selectively increases respiratory sensation in healthy man. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 145, 85-96. • Weinberg, R.S., & Gould, D. (2007). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology (4th ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics. • Wythes, G. (n.d.). Yoga practice for sporting performance. Retrieved from http://www.illawarrayoga.com/greg/Yoga_and_Sports_Coaching_article.pdf

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