I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded- Michael Jordan, former American basketball player.

Dedication, practice and sheer love of the game has made many professional athletes reach the pinnacle during their career. Even today, athletes spend hours practicing and improving their performance. Every day, new records are set and the bar is raised. Every new record set means more stress on the athlete to achieve the top spot or maintain their position there.

Being an athletes is both physically and mentally stressful, where even a split-second's difference can change a lot of things. Further, every sport comes with its own set of risks, and athletics is no different. Pole-vaulters, sprinters, javelin-throwers and all others are always at a risk of sustaining injuries that might hamper their performance. So how does one keep raising the bar and yet keep away from the pitfalls? Amongst the variety of options available today, yoga is probably the oldest and one of the most reliable ones.

Many football and basketball teams encourage practicing yoga to minimize the injuries their players sustain during games. A few hours spent learning yoga can equip you with amazing endurance building and body strengthening postures. Let's have a look at a few postures that can help any professional or budding athlete improve their performance:Kapal Bhati pranayama (Skull Shining breathing technique)

The Skull Shining breathing technique helps energize the body by clearing the naadis (subtle energy channels) and also improves blood circulation. This pranayama also aids in rejuvenating the brain cells while also uplifting the mind. A calm mind can be more focussed, just what every athlete wants.Bhramari pranayama (Bee Breath)

Nothing can be more disastrous for an athlete than low self-confidence and anxiety. The Bee Breath ensures that you don't face either of these. This pranayama also improves concentration and helps reduce blood pressure.Veerbhadrasana (Warrior pose)

The Warrior pose strengthen and tones the arms, legs and lower back. It boosts stamina and also improves the balance in the body. This yoga posture also brings courage and peace to the practitioner – a perfect and fitting posture for every athlete.Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

The Bow pose tones the arms and legs, and also adds flexibility to the back. It is a very effective stress and fatigue buster and thus a good yoga posture for every athlete.

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