Could you use the practice of Yoga asana, pranayama and yoga nidra (as well as kriyas, nauli, sankalpa and other key practice elements) to complement your sports practice? Not really. It might be true that sports stars like Murray, the Williams sisters or various world famous teams practice Yoga asana, but actually, it is the sport that compliments the Yoga, not the other way around.
Yoga, as the Way of practice, allows you to become radically self aware (more or less) in the moment that existence is taking place. And this kind of complete awareness, along with the physical strength and flexibility, the speed and endurance, in other words the physical, but also the psychological, stamina required to remain entirely able to see what is happening as though from without the experience, even though intimately embedded within experience, is exactly what ‘being in the flow’ is. Which is what sports experts require if they are to hope to succeed in their game.
The trouble is, practice Yoga deeply enough, and the idea of competition becomes laughable. The other is oneself: although the interchange of energy between different aspects of existence is the whole heart of existence, the flux and dynamism that brings phenomena into being, still it would make no sense to take the whole process of a competition seriously. Yet perhaps this attitude, too, would give a winning edge, since by being able to see the sheer futility, and therefore, in essence, the playfulness, of the exchange, one would be less invested in the result, and therefore, of course, more able to maintain a slight detachment, a clearer focus.
Yoga practitioners happen to excel at sport. The two are inextricably caught up in one another when the practitioner is ‘in the flow’ of experience. They may not have called what they were doing ‘Yoga’, though. In another inversion, though, we must consider not that we are doing Yoga, but that Yoga, the system that is a practice, a way, of shifting our perception of existence to include wider and wider interrelationships, is doing us.