Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yoga for Hockey Players

Yoga can do wonders for your flexibility.

The incredible stretches and deep breathing increases the blood supply to your muscles and ligaments which reduces the chance of injury.

The problem is that mosts of the guys I know just aren't MAN enough to start chanting a mantra and assume the Lotus position to get their Chakras cleansed.

Yoga a powerful tool for stretching and strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility. Physically, hockey demands a lot of strength from legs. This mean that hockey players keep a lot of stress in their legs. Calves, quads, gluteus muscles and lower back muscles are heavily used. There are many yoga stretches that can help after hockey play, to relieve tension and prepare for the next game.

A great yoga stretch to increase your flexibility and strength is called The Triangle. Check out Yoga Hockey stretches.

Georges Laraque is just one of a growing number of NHL PROs who practice Yoga as part of their off-ice strength and conditioning . Laraque appears to have found a relaxed state of living and harmony with what he calls “Power Yoga" in 100 degree heat.

"The game can be stressful on your body and on you mentally," says Laraque. "You go there and it's just really relaxing. It's really quiet and it's hard to explain but you don't think of any problems or anything else. It's so good and relaxing and purifying.”

“Most guys that fight use the weights, weights, and weights, and they’re so big in their bodies that the muscle doesn’t matter,” Laraque said. “Yoga helps your core strength and that is way better than weights. I’m not the strongest guy weight-wise with enforcers in the NHL, but I’m strong, but not because I bench press six plates. If you do yoga, you don’t need to do weights that much because it’s like a weight exercise, but instead of using weights, you’re using your body.”

Laraque started practicing Yoga with Shawn Horcoff when he was with the Oilers. Chicago's Martin Havlat and Montreal's Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins have increased their self-awareness on both a physical and psychological level as well.

The Canucks: Warriors, Cobras, or Downward Facing Dogs?