ALL ABOUT YOGA TODAY! Thanks to Dena Bretz (yep, Casey’s mom!) for sharing her knowledge and insights into Yoga training for swimmers. Dena is a certified Yoga instructor for Life Time.
Also, day 3 of the push up challenge – I don’t know about the rest of you but I am definitely feeling those first two days – that tells me it is working!
Before you start with this download the DownDoggApp Which is free til May 1st. This is a nice app as you can choose the level, number of minutes, and “boost” a workout with more shoulders, core or whatever you would like.
Why Yoga for Swimmers? Yoga is beneficial for swimmers because it allows you to slow down! It also helps you connect your mind to your body. Yoga allows you to build strength using the resistance of your own body weight and gravity.
What you need. If you have a mat that is great – if not a beach towel is also the right length to practice on.
Where to start. Even on a day when you are engaging in a different type of work out try to spend 1-2 minutes sitting in meditation and breathing. In swimming you are told NOT to breathe so taking a couple of minutes to slow down your brain and breathe can calm stress and clear your mind. Don’t worry if you get distracted (EVERYONE DOES!) just begin again. Sometimes it helps to picture your lungs as balloons filling and emptying with each inhale and exhale.
Once you have spent some time on your breath I highly recommend trying a class on the Down Dog App. If you choose this app the home page has selections: Type of Class – Hatha – means a slower class where you hold the poses for a long time (this class builds strength and stretch) Quick Flow – will mean a quicker class where you move from one pose to another with your breath. (this class has cardio and stretching) Start with one of these. Level- If you have never been taken a yoga class choose “Beginner 2” If you have taken classes before but aren’t a regular yogi choose “Intermediate 2” And if yoga is a regular part of your dryland workouts choose “advanced” (there will be more difficult balance postures in these classes) Boost-This is an opportunity to add something to your class like more core work or more hip stretches. Feel free to play around with these. Length of class – Do at least 30 minutes – Savasana is the rest at the end of a class choose 3, 4, or 5 minutes
I know a lot of you have also been told to run or bike for cardio and stamina training. Take time after you do these work outs to stretch, and hold the poses for 1-3 minutes. Here are a couple of suggestions for post-cardio stretches. The First is Extended Child’s pose where you go from your hands and knees, and then you open your knees wide. You then push your hips to your heels and reach your arms out in front of you. The longer you stay in this position the more you will fell the benefit in the connective tissue of your hips and shoulders. (Pictured Below)
The other stretch for recovery would be Spinal Twist. You start laying on your back and pull one knee to your chest. Take a moment to draw some circles with your knee to massage your hip joint. If you have started with the right knee use your left hand to take your leg across your body. The right knee is now on the left side of you mat, and you can further the twist by sliding your chin along your chest and looking over your right shoulder. This pose will release your lower back as well as your shoulders, and create a stretch the entire length of your spine. (Pictured Below)
Have fun and take your time – these skills can last a life time and will be helpful when you get back in the pool!