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The relationship between yoga and sports can be a beautiful thing. The two types of exercise, if you will, almost form a sort of circular pattern: peak athletic performance requires stretching and priming, which leads many athletes to explore yoga, which in turn leads to better performance, and so on.
As more people have come to recognize this cycle, it almost seems as if the divide between sports and yoga has been broken down. For a long time there was a fairly popular notion that athletes were separate from – or even somehow superior to – yoga practitioners. Now though, it’s widely accepted that yoga and sports can and do go hand-in-hand. And many might be interested to know that this isn’t simply an idea, but rather something demonstrated by some of the best and most influential figures in world sports.
Novak Djokovic has become one of the greatest tennis players of all time and is still operating at the top of his game. And perhaps it isn’t a huge surprise that he’s among the truly elite athletes to have benefitted from yoga. Djokovic hails from Serbia, which is a country that actually offers quite a lot in the way of yoga and wellness retreats; additionally, there are yoga routines and poses specifically recommended for athletes, indicating a particularly close connection between the sport and this particular form of exercise. Djokovic still has an interesting tale to tell, however. He was an extraordinary talent from his first day as a professional, but only truly vaulted to the top tier of tennis when he began to focus more on diet and wellness – an effort that evidently included regular yoga and meditation. Here are 10 athletes who do yoga like Novak.
Gareth Bale is possibly the best Welsh soccer player in history, and is certainly among the best living players anywhere. He’s amassed an incredible list of both personal and team accomplishments despite not having turned 30 yet, and he commands so much attention that markets speculating on soccer are already debating which teams might try to sign him months from now, during the summer off season. Bale has reached this level largely by way of outstanding fitness, unusual speed, and an ability to overcome numerous unfortunate injuries. All of these abilities and attributes appear to be results, at least in part, of yoga practice, which is said to be part of Bale’s regular training routine.
LeBron James has become the most famous basketball player of a generation, and though he just had arguably the most disappointing season of his career, he still can’t be said to be in decline even as he enters his mid-30s. He’s attained his status through once-in-a-lifetime talent and a rare mind for the game, but also through uncommon devotion to conditioning. For years it’s been known that James takes yoga very seriously, from working it into his off season routine to making use of yoga bubbles in workouts before games or during practices. He has been perhaps the greatest example in all of the sporting world of how yoga and athletics can be approached together, and indeed of how an athlete can benefit from this sort of exercise.
This blog post is an affiliate post contributed by a team of leading sports experts. Thus, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author only and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opnions of Ekattva.