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Two yoga therapy poses to prevent a common football injury

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By Marti Angel

8/5/11 Arian Foster, Houston Texans RB, strains his hamstring and is unable to practice. wow!!

When asked about his injury, according to The Houston Chronicle Foster said "I was probably going a little bit too hard, feeling good being back on the first day, but that's part of life," he said. "You have to roll with it. Hamstrings are part of the business."

Little does he know how simple and effective Yoga Therapy can be at strengthening the muscle to prevent this injury! Read on!

Football is a very challenging contact sport, which tends to have a very high rate of player injuries. I will give you two Yoga Therapy poses, which will prevent one of the most common injuries in this high contact sport, which is pulled hamstrings. The clinical definition of a hamstring tear or a pulled hamstring is caused due to a tear in one or more of the hamstring muscles.

Imagine you are at a game and one team passes the ball down the field to another player who is set to score points all the while the opposing team attempts to block the progress and gain possession of the ball. The crowd is roaring, emotions are running high; the clock is ticking down leaving only seconds before. The player making the catch explodes into the air in an attempt to catch the pass, he reaches as best he can but all of a sudden as the explosion of his legs begins he feels the burning of the back of his thigh. He makes the catch anyway but on the way down that burning thigh has lost its ability to hold him up, he tumbles down and rolls to the sideline. AHHH! He screams tries to keep possession of the ball but the leg is on fire, the pain is excruciating, he blinks and before he knows it the opposing team has landed on top of him and he loses his grip on the ball, he reaches for it, but then he hears the announcer scream “ and it’s a fumble!”

Sound all too familiar? The flexibility and pliability of the hamstrings means that the whole leg needs to be strong but mostly pliable, and flexible, able to expand and contract as needed. Yoga Therapy is not just crucial after the injury, it is also great to use pregame as a warm up. Many football players are no beginning to realize the value of yoga. They are now starting to incorporate these yoga classes and yoga routines into their daily practices.

The first pose to increase the flexibility of the hamstring is Gate Pose, Parighasana, some of the Benefits are:

Stretches the sides of the torso and spine
Stretches the hamstrings
Opens the shoulders

To begin with kneel down on the floor. Stretch your right leg out to the side and press your foot to the floor. Keep your left knee directly below your left hip, align your right heel with the left knee. Turn your pelvis slightly to the right and turn your upper torso back to the left. Point the knee up toward the ceiling. As you inhale, bring your arms out to your sides, palms down. Exhale and bend to the right over the right leg. Inhale and lift the left arm over the back of the left ear. The side bend tends to drop the torso toward the floor.

The second pose in increase the flexibility of the hamstring is Seated Forward Bend, Paschimottanasana, some of the benefits of this pose include:

Calming the brain and helping to relieve stress and mild depression
Stretching the spine, shoulders, hamstrings

Begin by Sitting on the floor with your buttocks supported on a folded blanket and your legs straight in front of you. Rock slightly onto your left buttock, and pull the fleshy part of the body away from the heel. Repeat on the other side. Inhale, and keeping the front torso long, slightly bend forward from the hip joints. Lengthen the tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. Put hands on the soles, elbows fully extended; or loop a strap around the foot soles, and hold the strap firmly. Breathe and hold this pose for at least 20 breaths.

The use of yoga pre- game and post game Yoga therapy will alleviate the scenario above and prevent it from ever happening. Begin to incorporate yoga in your daily routine and lets limits the fumbles due to injuries.

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