Many of us already know that athletes use yoga all over the world to benefit their athleticism. And it’s not breaking news that yoga increases flexibility in your soft tissues so you are less likely to strain or sprain any joints or muscles.
However, some new ideas about the benefits of yoga for athletes center around the idea that when you spend much of your time exerting yourself physically, you need to apply some movements that are not just rejuvenating for your body, but also for your mind, and for your inspiration to stay on track.
Here are a few ways that yoga benefits athletes.
1. Listening to Your Body
As an athlete, your body is not just a place that you live in. It is a place that you work from, also.
Athletes need to be completely in touch with their bodies physically in order to know when to slow down, speed up, work harder, or take a break. The biggest lesson in yoga is that of being able to listen to your body carefully and know its cues.
In being able to listen to your body in this way, yoga teaches us to be in the present moment. This level of concentration without distraction can be vital during a sport of any kind.
3. Building All-Over Strength
When you solely practice one sport, you may be building strength in just one or two areas. Compliment your sport with yoga and you will become stronger everywhere.
4. Calculating Your Next Move
Being able to control your breathing pattern plays into keeping you cool and calculating when performing. Oxygen is calming, after all, and when your adrenaline is pumping it can be hard to think clearly.
Yoga is so good at suggesting that you move with your breath at all times, that it becomes second nature to take that off your mat and into your sport. This helps athletes calmly plan the next move at a moment’s notice without needing to stop the action.
5. Stress Relief
Being an athlete can come with added anxiety, stress, and pressures.
Yoga helps rinse those stress hormones out of your body more quickly so they don’t burn you out and detract from your natural energy level.
A great yoga class inspires its students to be better in all realms of their life, whether it’s with mantras or deep assists, postural workups, or simple breathing exercises. This kind of inspiration is exactly what sports teams and independent players need to win.
7. Increased Enthusiasm and Energy
As an athlete there will be occasions when you lament having to be physical. Using yoga in these moments will reinvigorate your want to play, while giving you a break from the drills of your sport.
Yoga naturally loosens physical tightness, and expels lactic acid build-up from the muscles, which in turn will lift your spirits and raise your energy level.
All athletes stretch before and after training. Yoga adds a little extra boost to this area. It is the next step towards excelling in your sport both physically and mentally.
There are many benefits to doing yoga as a team including:
Improved energy and focus, leading to a boost in performance levels
Creating a sense of teamwork and connectedness
Improved decision making, creativity, and productivity
How many of you have heard the words “Hot Yoga” and cringed? Why in the world would anyone want to intentionally put themselves in the HEAT!? Better question, why do they go back?
Many people who have never experienced hot yoga usually comment, “I would love to do a yoga class but I can’t handle the heat”.
For the majority of people, regular practice of hot yoga mentally takes them places they have never been before. Now you don’t normally spend your day’s in a 90º room with about 40% humidity, performing edge-pushing postures.
So really, people’s biggest fear isn’t even the heat, it’s the fear of the unknown.
Because out there in the unknown, there’s confusion, room to get hurt, let down, disappointment. But that’s only if you let those things in.
Think about your favorite thing to eat, even if you shouldn’t eat it. Can you remember the first time you tried it? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, that item was a part of the unknown at one point in your life. How did you know you were going to like it? How did you know it wasn’t going to make you sick? You didn’t, but you TRIED IT.
Keyword here, tried!
That’s all you need to do, to give hot yoga a chance before you say you can’t handle the heat. Give it a try!
5 Ways To Overcome Your Hot Yoga Fears
1. Embrace The Heat
Studios open 30 minutes before class so get there early to lie down and acclimatize to the heat. Still challenged by the heat? No biggie! Just sit out a few of the postures – what matters most is that you had the courage to attend class.
2.Believe In Yourself
The mind is powerful; what you think, you become. Yoga won’t only transform your body, it will transform your mind – but you need to enter into it with the strong mindset that you can do it.
3.Strengthen Your Focus
Don’t take your thoughts into class. Thinking about work or those errands you have to do isn’t going to contribute anything positive to your practice – the 60 minutes is all about YOU.
4.Own Your Breath
In all forms of Yoga, emphasis is placed more on the breath than on the postures. It’s important to remember to maintain a slow and steady breath through your nose. Mastering your breath is what’s going to make your practice all the more rewarding and enjoyable.
5.Prepare Your Body
What you do before and after class affects your overall Yoga experience:
You’re going to sweat a lot so make sure you prepare yourself by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to your first class. And after class, rehydrate yourself with water and electrolytes (coconut water is an excellent source of natural electrolytes).
When class is over don’t immediately pick up your mat and bolt for the door. Lie still for a few minutes to allow your body to cool.
Don’t jump into a cold shower straight after class; it’s important that your body cools itself down naturally.
The benefits of Yoga are many and endless. In the short term you will sleep better, feel happier and have a more energetic and toned body. And in the long term, you will have overall improved physical and mental health.
If you have told yourself that you “can’t handle the heat”, I hope this has inspired you to strengthen your mind, overcome your fears and give it a try.
Pregnant? Looking for a way to relax and stay fit during your pregnancy?
Perhaps you should consider prenatal yoga.
Prenatal yoga goes beyond the baby growing phase, it can even help prepare you for labor and promote good health for your baby.
What are the benefits of prenatal yoga? I’m glad you asked.
Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies.
Research suggests that prenatal yoga can:
Reduce stress and anxiety
Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath
Prenatal yoga can also help you meet and bond with other pregnant women and prepare for the stress of being a new parent.
What happens during a typical prenatal yoga class?
A typical prenatal yoga class might involve:
Breathing. You’ll be encouraged to focus on breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose. Prenatal yoga breathing techniques might help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and work through contractions during labor.
Gentle stretching. You’ll be encouraged to gently move different areas of your body, such as your neck and arms, through their full range of motion.
Postures. While standing, sitting or lying on the ground, you’ll gently move your body into different positions aimed at developing your strength, flexibility and balance. Props — such as blankets, cushions and belts — might be used to provide support and comfort.
Cool down and relaxation. At the end of each prenatal yoga class, you’ll relax your muscles and restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You might be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts and emotions.
Are there styles of yoga that aren’t recommended for pregnant women?
There are many different styles of yoga — some more strenuous than others. Prenatal yoga, hatha yoga and restorative yoga are the best choices for pregnant women.
Be careful to avoid Bikram yoga, commonly called hot yoga, which involves doing vigorous poses in a room heated to 100 to 110 F (38 to 43 C). Bikram yoga can raise your body temperature too much, causing a condition known as hyperthermia. In addition, ashtanga and other types of power yoga might be too strenuous for women who aren’t experienced yoga practitioners.
Are there special safety guidelines for prenatal yoga?
To protect your health and your baby’s health during prenatal yoga, follow basic safety guidelines. For example:
Talk to your health care provider. Before you begin a prenatal yoga program, make sure you have your health care provider’s OK. You might not be able to do prenatal yoga if you are at increased risk of preterm labor or have certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or back problems.
Set realistic goals. For most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity is recommended on most, if not all, days of the week. However, even shorter or less frequent workouts can still help you stay in shape and prepare for labor.
Pace yourself. If you can’t speak normally while you’re doing prenatal yoga, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard.
Stay cool and hydrated. Practice prenatal yoga in a well-ventilated room to avoid overheating. Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
Avoid certain postures. When doing poses, bend from your hips — not your back — to maintain normal spine curvature. Avoid lying on your belly or back, doing deep forward or backward bends, or doing twisting poses that put pressure on your abdomen. You can modify twisting poses so that you only move your upper back, shoulders and rib cage. Avoid inverted poses, which involve extending your legs above your heart or head, unless you’re an experienced yoga practitioner. As your pregnancy progresses, use props during postures to accommodate changes in your center of gravity. If you wonder whether a pose is safe, ask your instructor for guidance.
Don’t overdo it. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. Start slow and avoid positions that are beyond your level of experience or comfort. Stretch only as far as you would have before pregnancy.
If you experience any pain or other red flags — such as vaginal bleeding, decreased fetal movement or contractions — during prenatal yoga, stop and contact your health care provider.
[ Excerpt from The Mayo Clinic ]
How do I choose a prenatal yoga class?
Look for a program taught by an instructor who has training in prenatal yoga.
Your teacher, Katie Clark, is a E-RYT 500 Hour registered yoga teacher, has completed specialized Prenatal Yoga Training and is a mom herself!
Here at Spotted Dog Yoga in a supportive class of soon-to-be mamas you’ll aim to boost balance, circulation, flexibility and muscle tone for a healthy pregnancy. Through postures modified for each trimester, you will work to open and strengthen all the right muscles to counteract the weight of your baby bump, striving to prevent the aches, pains and imbalances common in pregnancy.
Plus, you’ll pick up deep breathing and relaxation tools to use in labor, delivery and beyond into parenthood!
75 minutes, no heat
Bring your friends along too! Let’s make this a baby bumpin’ good time.
Man it’s really tough to be a kid in today’s society!
Children deal with so many temptations, distractions, over-stimulating activities and peer pressure. Schools are forced and challenged to do more with minimal resources and be creative in how they reach even the most isolated child.
Yoga is a low-cost, helpful tool that can have a positive impact on our children.
And wouldn’t we want them to have positivity in their lives? After all, they are our future!
How exactly does yoga help though?
Yoga helps kids to:
Develop body awareness
Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way
Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
Increase their confidence and positive self-image
Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group
Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices
In a school setting, yoga can also benefit teachers by:
Giving them an alternate way to handle challenges in the classroom
Giving them a healthy activity to integrate with lesson plans
Give them a way to blend exercise into their classes
Here is what kids can expect to learn in a yoga class:
1. Awareness of the breath
Breathing exercises can energize kids or encourage relaxation, depending on what you teach. Different games and techniques help kids connect to how their bodies feel as a result of deep breathing. Focus increases, as does their breathing and lung capacity. Stress is naturally reduced and healthy hormones are released.
2. Strengthening and energizing
Kids think that yoga is great for stretching, but doesn’t build strength. Talking about the different muscles used in poses and incorporating games and sequences will help build strength as well as body awareness and coordination. Bodies that are strong digest food better, maintain a healthy weight and can support the stress of carrying heavy loads, like a backpack. Bodies will also breathe better, work more efficiently and protect the more fragile joints.
Balancing poses teach children that with increased focus, you can increase attention naturally, even in kids who struggle with different attention challenges. Poses and games focused on balancing skills, develop an intrinsic strength, evoke a meditative feeling, and promote stillness and quieting of the mind. This can help kids deal with the stress of living in a chaotic world where constant stimulation is a regular part of life.
4. Stretching and lengthening
It’s great for kids to be strong, but a body that’s only based on strength has no way to yield under pressure. Strong muscles without accompanying flexibility can’t move quickly, pulling on bones and joints. Yoga poses stretch muscles and through integrating breathing and movement, muscles become warm and become more flexible. They can yield when they need to, and support tender joints in a more functional way.
5. Awareness and focus
Yoga helps create awareness in the body through deep breathing and movement. It gives kids a way to express themselves, build a strong connection between what they hear and what they do. Children that have healthy body awareness are more confident and strong, have better posture, breathe better and have a sense of quiet strength.
6. Flowing, connecting and integrating
When we string poses together, we give kids a taste of what it means to move with ease. It also helps them build the awareness that all our movements are a series of coordinated efforts between muscles, bones, joints and nerves. Older kids are more able to isolate different muscle groups and get more sophisticated about movements; things like keeping the arms lifted in Warrior 1, while at the same time, dropping the shoulders to relax them. All these things together increase a child’s sense feeling integrated.
7. Meditation and relaxation
Yoga is meditative by nature. So whether a child is holding a balancing posture, sitting in meditation or moving through a series of poses, there’s going to be a calming, soothing quality. Giving younger kids something to do as they rest on their mats will help with their attention, such as suggesting they think of a favorite color or toy. Older kids will find it easier to rest longer with less structure.
The Best Way to Learn Yoga! SLOW FLOW classes are open to students of all experience levels but tailored to new students and those seeking a slower, modified practice or looking for a non-heated flow class. Experience Baptiste Power Yoga where each class is built on the foundation of the Journey Into Power sequence in a format using only modified versions of all poses.
60 minutes, no heat
SLOW FLOW IS…
· tailored to beginners
· ALL modified postures
· purposefully formatted
· not heated
Slow Flow starts Monday 7/9 and will be offered 4 times per week Monday/Friday 8am, Wed 6:15pm and Sat 4:30pm
*Although students of all levels are WELCOME at SLOW FLOW classes, our request is that all students take the modified pose variations regardless of more advanced knowledge or ability.