Yoga for recovery: Why you should ponder it as an option
Stress is often perceived as inherently bad for athletic performance. It has been cited to be one of the main contributors to feelings of anxiety, depression, and even physiological issues like cardiovascular disease. Despite technological and medical advancements, stress can be difficult to recognise, manage, and can negatively impact performance.
Despite the negative impact of stress, Yerkes and Dodson (1908) explained not all stress is bad. In fact, some stress is required for athletes to achieve their optimum performance. Commonly referred to as the inverted-U theory of stress, the researchers’ work dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only to a point. Too little stress and athletes become bored, but if stress becomes too high, then the very same athletes can experience acute anxiety or unhappiness, says a leading performance coach.
“Stress and recovery need to be strategically implemented to elicit increases in athletic performance … where lots of coaches struggle today is that they do not emphasise the importance of recovery, or lack the recovery modalities to accurately address both physical and mental stress,” said Paige Schober, assistant athletic performance coach at the University of California, during her Science for Sport Presentation titled ‘Recovery Yoga for High Performing Athletes’.
Athletes commonly experience the following, if stressed:
- Muscle damage
- Sleep disturbances
- Testosterone imbalances
- Mental health issues