Yoga Poses to Prevent the Top Sports Injuries

Yoga Poses to Prevent the Top Sports Injuries

By Gwen Lawrence • For

From a recreational athlete to a pro, the most common reason for sport related injuries is over use and abuse. Most injuries arise because athletes disconnect to their body. Some people take better care of their cars than their own bodies.

The best prevention is to become aware of your body, its shape, how it feels, range in the joints, and its symmetry. Sports create asymmetries because they are one side dominant, it’s your job to recognize imbalances before they become an injury. Here are top 10 most common sport related injuries and yoga poses to prevent them.

Top Sports Injuries

  1. Hip pain
  2. Hamstring pulls
  3. Knee injuries
  4. Shoulder pain
  5. Low back strain
  6. Wrist problems
  7. Ankle sprains
  8. Achilles tendonitis
  9. Plantar fasciitis
  10. Neck strain

Hip Pain

Hip pain is due to a lot of stop and go movment like in soccer, jarring moves like in tennis, and pounding the ground like in running. The simplest tool is to keep the hip open in all directions.
Before you do any recommended poses lay on your back and relax completely. Make sure to release your legs and let them flop apart. Slowly lift your head without changing the positioning of your legs and take notice which way your toes are pointing. Do they point in the same direction or does one foot point out and the other foot points straight? If they point in the same direction, that means one hip is completely relaxed. If they point in different directions that means the hip of the foot pointed straight up is tighter than the other hip and needs some attention.

  • Pigeon pose
  • Frog pose
  • Hero’s pose
  • Standing forward bend

Hamstring Pulls

Most hamstring pulls are from tight hamstrings. This muscle group and it is a groupis the source of frustration for many athletes. They are so strong and thick it takes diligence and time to open them up. It will not happen over night.

  • Standing forward bend with bent knees to protect the back
  • Wall lean standing forward bend
  • Plow pose
  • Straddle forward bend

Knee Injuries

Whether you are 10 or a professional you probably have had or know someone that has had knee surgery. The best way to avoid ACL, MCL and meniscus trouble is to keep the hips flexible and strong. Think about it, if your hips are stiff and can’t move or rotate to their full potential the energy will go to the spot with least resistance, which is always the very vulnerable very complex knee joint.

  • Pigeon pose
  • Pigeon with quad stretch
  • Double pigeon
  • Frog
  • IT band series

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is built much like the hip joint, but more shallow. Because of this characteristic, misalignment, dislocations, and impingement are more likely to happen. It is important that you warm up your shoulders properly and stretch to reach maximum results.

  • Wall walks
  • Face down should stretch
  • Face up shoulder
  • Eagle arms
  • Wrist openers
  • Chataranga/ plank
  • Arm ups

Low Back Pain

One of the most common reasons for pain, stiffness, or limited range in the low back is tight hamstrings. Since the hamstrings originate on the sits bones, if the muscle is tight it pulls down on the pelvis, tipping it incorrectly and causing you to compensate in order to be upright. Another reason for low back pain is weak abdominals.

  • Seated forward bend
  • Wall lean forward bend
  • Seated twists
  • Seated leg cross twist
  • Boat/ boat pull ins
  • Forearm plank hold

Wrist Problems

Whether it’s carpal tunnel or a sprain from a fall, athletes are always susceptible to wrist injuries. Offensive linemen put all their weight behind them, soccer players land on them, and tennis player’s bank on their strength. It’s important to maintain strong forearms. Indication that you are having forearm flexor or extensor problems is to take a good look at your hands in down dog before you fix them. Notice if your two fingers are stuck together or if there is nice equal space between each finger.

  • Plank wrist turns
  • Down dog holds/ three point variations
  • Hand stands
  • Chaturanga, up dog

Ankle Sprains, Achilles Tendonitis, and Plantar Fasciitis

These are three common injuries You need to develop a strong ankle, flexible ankle, open and flexible toes, and work on your balance.

  • Hero’s pose toes tucked
  • Hero’s pose toes untucked
  • Tree pose
  • Squat
  • Half side squat
  • Warrior three

Neck Pain

The neck of an athlete needs great care. Full rotation means being able to fight off a defender in basketball, or turn your head towards a 95-mile an hour fastball. A flexible neck will help you roll out of a compromised wresting position, or absorb the shock of a full tackle.

  • Plow legs straight and bent
  • Head stand
  • Rabbit
  • Lying spinal twist
  • Up dog with full neck extension
  • Bow

Gwen Lawrence has been a practicing fitness professional since 1990. Her current practice includes private yoga training, class instructionand her sport-specific Power Yoga for Sports training program Gwen is the yoga instructor for several NewYork Yankees baseball players, team yoga instructor for the New YorkGiants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, and the Pace Universitybaseball team; as well as many youth teams in a variety of sports. She is also the official spokesperson for AFRIN PureSea. Visit her websiteat