As promised, this week’s Fitness Friday is diving into all the great things that yoga is and can do for you - a TON.
A Hindu discipline that includes breath control, simple mediation, and physical postures that are designed to enhance your body’s strength, flexibility, and stamina.
Additional and, perhaps, unexpected health benefits of yoga include:
Improvement in emotional health
Protection of your spine
Ease of arthritis symptoms
Regulation of blood pressure
Regulation of adrenal glands
Immune system support
Injury prevention is the most beneficial element of yoga for athletes. Yoga is great for strength—especially in your core. Along with this strength, comes greater flexibility and balance. All of which are vital to preventing injury. Through yoga, you will build your endurance and learn how to breathe into the areas of the body that are being strained in order to ease further into postures. Yoga is great for focus, teaching you to listen to your body and cancel out distractors to allow yourself to be present in the moment. This is critical for athletes during competition! Your body naturally enters recovery mode during yoga as it elongates the muscles that we athletes are always contracting.
As an avid runner, I have experienced these amazing benefits of yoga and feel completely rejuvenated! Some of my favorite poses that I have found work excellent for my runner’s body:
· Pigeon Pose- Great for hip flexors, gluteals, lower-back, and groin muscles! All of which tighten with the repetitive motion of the feet against the ground.
· Broken Toe Pose- Helps lengthen the muscles in the bottom of our feet that can often become strained and inflamed due to the lack of attention we give them.
· Standing Forward Bend- Awesome for those tight hamstrings that are common for all athletes!
· Plank Pose- Yes, the dreaded planks. However, this pose is amazing in building stability of your core!
· Cat-Cow Poses- The flow between these two poses brings incredible flexibility to the spine while stretching the torso and neck!
Start using the poses that work best for you and target the muscles that you find are particularly tight—listen to your body! Include these in your stretches after a workout or develop a routine for the morning or just before bed time to start/end your day with a great stretch that promotes overall health to your body.
So, yoga pants are actually meant for yoga... huh?
Fitness Friday Guru + Nourish Intern