How to stay icy cool when on ice

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Ice Hockey demands lots of endurance, stamina, as well as a calm mind. Now you all would definitely not agree with the last point I mentioned. How can a player have a calm mind, when he is on ice, competing hard to win? Well, I have got an answer for you, which though not completely but notably will help a player to stay stress free on ice, apart from remaining energetic. The answer is; Yoga.

Yoga by far is ruling the whole world today. The advantages of Yoga are doing wonders for everyone, irrespective of their fields. For an ice hockey player, Yoga can immensely increase his flexibility. The deep breathing and prominent stretches practiced while ding Yoga can hugely increase the blood supply to a player's muscles and ligaments, thus decreasing the chance of injury.

It is a known fact that ice hockey fore mostly demands hell lot of strength from legs. While on ice, a player readily uses their calves, quads, gluteus muscles and lower back muscles. So stretching involved in Yoga asana helps build the muscles endurance and flexibility.

Let me tell you a great Yoga asana, which can play a vital role in increasing your flexibility; The Triangle.

It is considered to be one of the best Yoga stretches for the ice hockey players, as it concentrates on the spine, lower back, flexibility, lateral muscles, and hamstrings.

This Yoga pose, apart from building strength in the lower back and upper legs, also aids in getting rid of tension from the lower and upper back, the hips and the hamstrings through both the twist and the stretching. Another important advantage of this yoga stretch is that it helps a player in acquiring a good sense of coordination and sense of balance, which can make or mar a player's victory.

Now let me just brief you a step to step description of the Triangle stretch.

  • First stand in Tadasana. After this, exhale and step or slightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Now your arms are supposed to be raised parallel to the floor and stretched actively out to the sides, with shoulder blades wide and palms down.

     

  • Next, turn left foot a little to the right and right foot out to the right 90 degrees. While aligning the right heel with the left heel, tighten your thighs and turn the right thigh outward in such a way that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

     

  • Following this, exhale and move the torso towards the right directly over the plane of the right leg, taking a bend from the hip joint and not the waist. In order to anchor this yoga stretch, try to strengthen the left leg and press the outer heel firmly to the floor. Now move or rotate the torso to the left while keeping the two sides equally long. Now, allow the left hip to come forward a little, while laying the tailbone toward the back heel.

  • Once this is done, simply rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, without changing or altering the sides of the torso. Next, your left arm needs to be stretched towards the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. While keeping your head in a neutral yoga position, look subtly at the left thumb.

  • Last but not the least, you have to stay in this yoga pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute and finally come up after inhaling by pressing the back heel into the floor strongly and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Now alter the feet and do the same stretch for the same amount of time to the left.

While practicing this Yoga stretch, you need to keep in mind the tolerance and resistance power of your body. At any point, if you feel pain, stop immediately. It is with constant practice that you acquire the art of yoga perfectly.

Well known NHL (National Hockey League), Georges Laraque, has found the answer to his problems by practicing Yoga. He feels that it plays an integral role in their off-ice strength and conditioning. Apart from this, the player has also discovered a peaceful state of living and harmony with what he calls "Power Yoga" in 100 degree heat.

He feels that Ice hockey can prove to be stressful both mentally and physically. But Yoga helps in relaxing.

Laraque explains, "Most guys that fight use the weights, weights, and weights, and they're so big in their bodies that the muscle doesn't matter. 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."

It was Shawn Horcoff who introduced Laraque to Yoga, when he was with the Oilers. Apart from Laraque, even Chicago's Martin Havlat and Montreal's Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins ahev used yoga to attain more self-awareness on both a physical and psychological level.

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