If you are an avid athlete, or a fitness junkie, this is an article for you! Yoga may be the missing piece of your fitness puzzle!
Regardless of your sport, we all find that we are prone to certain imbalances in our bodies. These imbalances will only worsen if you have a desk job. This is where yoga can play a vital role. Since I had a niggling injury last Christmas, I started including a lot more yoga in my weekly routine. In relation to fitness training I have identified three main benefits of yoga:
· Improved muscular form, fewer muscular imbalances. Most yoga poses are practiced on both sides which forces us to work on our weaknesses.
· Less muscular weakness from overuse injuries.
· Better joint mobility and strength.
There are so many yoga poses to choose from and depending on what you did in your training there will be some poses that are better suited than others. The following five poses are a great place to start.
Even those of you who have never set foot in a yoga studio before probably know what downward facing dog is. It is a pose that is done so often in a class that it is easy to forget that it is actually an extremely beneficial posture! It is a great stretch for your shoulders, hamstrings, calves and wrists. If you struggle with extremely tight calves post box jumps like me this is a great active stretch. Done correctly it even engages your lats.
The ultimate pose for lower body relief. This is a fantastic pose for releasing hips or even for getting into a tight IT band. It hurts, but the longer you manage to keep the posture, the better! Opening your hips can also be a great way of preventing or getting rid of any back pain. If you have tight hip flexors they will cause your pelvis to tilt forwards which in turn increases the curve in your lower back. My hip flexors have a tendency to tighten up very easily, I try and sit in pigeon for a couple of minutes on each side after every time I train .
This is a great stretch to help release your back, neck and even core post WOD! The flow increases flexibility in the neck, shoulders and spine, it also stretches the muscles in our hips, back and abdomen. This is also a fantastic pose to add into your warm up.
This is a much harder pose than it seems! The goal of the warrior poses is correct alignment. With any sport if you don’t have proper alignment your chances of injury are massively increased. Correct alignment can help to assure that this is less of a risk. Additionally, Warrior II strengthens the legs, opens the hips and the chest.
This is a great pose to help develop better posture. This pose fortifies the back and strengthens the muscles that surround the spine. It can help to realign the spine and to get rid of forward rounded shoulders. It also helps to open up the hips and release tension from hip flexors, which for those of you who work at a desk or who spend extended amounts of time sitting down is imperative!
Including yoga in your fitness routine is a great way to prevent injuries while still training. Yoga has multiple benefits, from better mobility, to better movements, to better breath control, balance, the list goes on. Like with everything it is extremely important to find a style and a teacher that suits you in order to really get the most out of it!
During your week with us at Nefeli Nine we will introduce you to yoga as a part of your full training regimen. We will have some yoga inspired mobility every morning before breakfast, and Myrto will be taking you through three flow classes throughout your time with us.
See you on the mat! Namaste