Yoga is the ancient science of human body & Mind. 8 limbs of Yoga- Yama (Self-Discipline), Niyama (Self-Maintenance), Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breath Control), Pratyahara (Control of Senses), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyan (Meditation), Samadhi (Union with the Divine).
Most people using Yoga do not consider Yama, Niyama & Samadhi for improvement of their immediate personal need. The most popular are Asana & Pranayama’s as physical Exercise along with some mental component whereas Pratyahara, Dharana & Dhyan are considered more of a mental activity. All of these can be used by athletes for relaxation.
Elite athletes involve in hard training sessions more than once-a-day. Fast Recovery is essential for effective training sessions. To promote recovery number of supplements is there. Authenticity of these products, effectiveness and side-effects are questionable. Yogic exercises for relaxation can increase the rate of recovery. Yogic Relaxation techniques activate Parasympathetic Nervous System and reduce the dominance of Sympathetic Nervous System.
In India Yoga is a part culture for us, though it has not been used much in sports. I wish to go deeper with Yogic Science for the benefit of athletes.
As a Track & Field athlete I’ve used some of the relaxation technique such as Breath Control, relaxing asanas. Yoga Nidra is a wonderful activity for relaxation. It promotes complete recovery (both Body & Mind).