Authors: Koichiro Aoki, Chieko Kato and Satoshi Yoshinuma
Abstract: Yoga, which has effects on mind and body, is utilized into athletes’ training. This study verified the effects of yoga on rugby players’ physical and mental states. The participants were twenty-two university rugby players. Eleven players among them were assigned to the yoga group and the others were the control group. The participants in the yoga group practiced yoga under the instruction of an expert and those in the control group did some stretches in their own way. Before and after yoga / stretches, the participants were asked to do two movements (movement 1: bringing the knees near the chest; movement 2: dropping the hips) and the range of their hip joints’ and knee joints’ motions were measured using a motion capture system. In addition, interviews were carried out on the participants in the yoga group. As a result, the range of motion in the yoga group participants increased significantly after yoga. Thus, yoga’s effect on improving athletes’ flexibility was demonstrated. Similar, the results of the interviews suggested the positive effects on mind and body, such as preventing injuries, awareness of physical sensations, improving concentration and self-control, and stress reduction. Specifically, the effect on mental states was resulted from yoga in which it is important to do various movements while focusing on physical sensations and breathing. Yoga can be incorporated into rugby players’ training because the effects of yoga on mind and body were useful for improving rugby performance and quality of training.
Keywords: component; Yoga; Rugby players; Motion capture system: Flexibility; Mental training