This weekend I completed the Rugby Half Marathon. On the way round the rather hilly course, I was thinking about how yoga helps me in my running. Around the whole course I mindfully focused on the quality of my breath, the alignment of my posture (shoulders back, chin up, firm core), a positive mantra (“I can and I will get up that hill.”) and gratitude to the supporters lining the route.
At the end of race, I took the time to stretch – runner’s lunge for the hip flexors, wide legged forward bend for the groin and lower back, downward facing dog for the hamstrings and lower back and plenty of rehydration and rest for the muscles to recover and relax.
I’ve been teaching yoga for sports for over two years to different athletes including runners, golfers, cyclists and triathletes. All have found a regular yoga practice has helped them in various ways – from
strengthening their core, knees and ankles, improving their balance, to enhancing their breathing and stretching their hamstrings.
Often people think that yoga is all about flexibility but that’s only one part of it. Yes, it’s important but so are stability, strength and stamina, all in equal measures. These work alongside good quality breathing, postural alignment, a focused mind, rest and recovery. And all of these things help athletes increase their performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Yoga has huge benefits for athletes and is practiced by many world class sports people to help prevent injury, strengthen their core, and stretch over worked muscles – from the England rugby squad to
tennis players, footballers and GB Taekwando.
In my two years of teaching Sports Yoga, I have trained with Hayley Winter (SportsScience –yoga teacher of numerous Olympic athletes) and Sarah Ramsden (most well known for teaching Ryan Giggs, Manchester United & City, and Liverpool football clubs). Right now, I teach a weekly sports yoga class where listening to what people need, both physically and mentally, is of the utmost importance.
Sometimes they want to push themselves with more of a cardio and strengthening yoga practice as pushing themselves is most common to them (think energising Sun Salutations, planks, lunges) but often,they just need to slow down, rest and be given the license to do that (think stretching, strengthening, relaxation) which is probably harder to do than the former. Yoga is about listening to what the mind and body need – not the ego… and it’s certainly not about competing with the person on the next mat or with oneself.
Many sports are great for invigorating the body and mind however the repetitive use of a few select muscles can result in them shortening, and tightening, causing imbalances in the musculoskeletal system and triggering overuse injuries. Yoga uses all parts of the body and focuses the mind to re-balance, re-energise and prepare for the next race or game.
Yoga for sports is the perfect compliment for athletes training for a primary sport to cross train and prevent injury. Many world class athletes have reported that it gives them the edge to improve on their
PB and their opponents.
During the two-hour workshop we will cover and practice:
1. Introduction – Why yoga?
2. Breathing and spinal articulation
3. Shoulders, neck, feet and ankles
4. Sun salutations – 4 rounds to heat up the body for stretching including forward bending, back bending, twisting and semi-inversion,
5. Core strength
7. Hips and glutes
8. Quads, hamstrings,
9. Restorative poses
By the end of the workshop all participants will feel energised, stretched, strengthened, balanced and relaxed and have some take-home poses to practice between and at the of their regular training sessions.
You can book online or at the studio.
Sun 31st July, 12-2pm