5 Ways Yoga Can Help Your Squad
As a cheerleader, you are expected to learn stunts and routines that require a significant level of flexibility and strength.
From flyers to bases, every person on your squad can improve their strength, flexibility, and more with yoga.
Not sure if yoga is right for your squad? Here’s 5 reasons why you should encourage your cheerleaders to practice yoga.
One major benefit of including yoga in your cheer workout is the ability to increase flexibility.
Many forms of yoga such as Hatha and Vinyasa can help your cheerleaders by introducing them to new stretches and poses that extends their range of motion.
The Cobra is a great beginners’ pose to increase one’s flexibility. This pose aligns the spine and strengthens the arms, kidney and nervous system as you lift the top portion of your body toward the sky.
**If you or a cheerleader has a history of lower back pain, try moving your hands further forward while attempting this pose.**
Depending on the type of yoga your squad chooses to practice, you’ll be able to strengthen your core and other key muscles with ease.
Ashtanga is a popular version of yoga your squad can do to strengthen their muscles.
According to YuMee Chung, a Toronto-based Ashtanga Vinyasa and advanced certified Jivamukti yoga instructor, “Holding a pose for more than 72 seconds has an amazing ability to restore and rebuild connective tissue and the skeleton as well. Runners, cyclists and triathletes use their bodies in precise ways; they use the same muscles to do the same things. Yoga can bring awareness to the actions you’re placing on the body and, aside from the biceps, we hit just about every muscle.”
Ashtanga yoga includes planks, downward dogs, and nearly 40 additional poses during a course of 90 minutes.
In cheer, overusing certain muscles or executing a stunt incorrectly could lead to major injuries.
Common cheer injuries include ankle sprains, knee injuries and lower back pain.
To reduce the chances of injured ankles, try these three yoga poses.
- Tree pose
- Warrior three
- Hero’s pose
Want to reduce the chances of knee injuries or lower back pain? Try these six yoga poses.
Knee injury prevention
- Pigeon pose
- Pigeon with quad stretch
Lower back pain prevention
- Forearm plank hold
- Seated forward bend
- Seated twists
Helps you focus
Although yoga has a wide range of physical benefits, it can also help your squad focus and retain information better.
According to a recent study by Neha Gothe, a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout.”
Restorative yoga is a great option for cheerleaders who want to improve their ability to focus and retain new information throughout the season.
Hatha yoga is a good choice for reducing stress among cheerleaders.
From learning new stunts and juggling school work, the life of a cheerleader can get stressful fast.
Compared to other forms of yoga, the pace of Hatha is slower and involves easier poses such as downward facing dog, warrior and mountain.
The slower pace allows you to focus on your breathing and poses, taking your focus away from stress and frustrations.
Now that you know the 5 benefits of yoga, find a facility near you and start practicing with your squad.