Saturday 23rd September 10:00 – 12:00
Do you partake in any of the following physical activities?
- Gym (Weight Training, Cardio, Classes)
- Team sports (Football, Rugby, Hockey, Rowing, Quidditch etc)
- Tennis, Paddle, Squash, Badminton…
- Running (Gentle jogs – Ultramarathons)
- Cycling (Road or Mountain)
- Skating, Surfing
- Hiking or just walking
Would you like to move better and be better at your activity?
Do you experience any physical pain during our after your activity?
Maybe you used to do some of these activities but now struggle to because you think your body won’t let you?
If your answer is yes for the above, then I have a solution to help. Yoga, specifically my style of yoga…
Lots of professional sports men and women practice regular yoga. Here’s a few reasons why.
- On an obvious physical level, yoga helps improve our flexibility, our Range Of Movement (ROM) i.e., How far we can move a part of our body around a fixed position/joint.
- Furthermore, Vinyasa style yoga, which I teach, helps promote fluidity around movement patterns. Making yoga transferable to other physical activities and day-to-day movement.
- More so, Yoga improves our strength whilst we open the body in such a way. This is where my specific yoga training, Personal training and coaching background plays in. I focus heavily on the following: alignment (correct posture during the poses), Muscle Energy (activating of muscles as we draw inward), Organic Energy (activating of muscles as we lengthen outward), Softening (the conscious release of muscles that are unnecessarily activated), inner and outer spirals (not just ROM but also the torque we can create via internal and external rotation across joints)
- Finally our Breath (which I will mention in more detail)
Having this conscious ability to activate (turn on) and deactivate (turn off) our muscle fibres whilst we move through the poses, as well, inviting internal or external rotation across multiple joints will help us better our stability and posture and improve our strength throughout our kinetic chain of movement (i.e., the efficient way of moving multiple parts of the body).
For example, in certain standing poses the leg that is stepped back might have both inner and outer spirals activated. An outer spiral to our lower leg will give lift to our foots inner arch, but at the same time an inner spiral to our upper leg to help square our hips. This multi-rotational activation will provide the torque needed to better our stability, improve our balance and improve our overall posture. At the same time, in our forward leg we will be drawing up from the foot to the front of the thigh (activating the quad, abductor and glutes). This will help protect the knee in its proper alignment and help release the hamstring. And that’s just the lower body in one pose! Similar will be done in our upper body. Combining this with improved strength through a greater ROM, our proprioception improves, setting the perfect platform to build on our power and our agility.
Working this way helps us get more connected to our bodies. We thus become more aware of when things do and do not feel right.
Finally the breath is the “Key to Unlocking the Body”. The breath connects mind and body. As you may know or may start to be realising after reading the above, yoga can be challenging. This is a good thing! It gives us something to work with. It is common for people new to yoga or those with less ROM to find certain poses challenging. Say we are in a lizard pose and we find it hard to stay there – after bringing our awareness to our body we realise our body is tense, muscles have engaged that shouldn’t, our breath becomes short or worse we hold our breath, we start to heat up and feel the sweat drip down our nose and our heart rate increases. Even though we are “just doing yoga” and we have voluntarily put ourselves into this said lizard pose, our body thinks we are in danger. We have reached our end ROM which must mean an evil creature is torturing us!! No, we are just doing yoga! Regardless, our body is in fight or flight mode (our sympathetic nervous system is on!) and we need to calm the F down! We need to surrender and relax our muscles, lower our heart rate and cool down (switch across to our parasympathetic nervous system). How do we do this? We focus on our breath, the one thing that is automatic and consciously controlled. By slowing the breath, in particular lengthening our exhales we will see our heart rate lower which will send signals to our muscles to relax, which will allow us to stretch a little more and deepen into the pose.
This is the power of the physical practice of yoga, connecting mind and body. Working together as a whole. Working efficiently, meaningfully and safely will not only improve our movement but will also help reduce the risk of injury.
Working with the breath also helps us release tension in our minds like stress and be less negatively reactive to external stimuli. It helps us focus on the task ahead, whether its work or the physical activity you had in mind reading this post.
So this is why I do yoga. It is why I believe my weight training has improved, along with my surfing, dancing (some would argue otherwise) and so much more.
Come join me on Saturday 23rd September for a two hour workshop where I will share with you my take on yoga and how it translates to other activities.