Oct 29, 2012
The benefits of a Yin Yoga practice can be awesome, especially for yogis who are also athletes or runners. Yin promotes body restoration, flexibility, and mental/physical balance. That’s all well and good, but why is this practice so beneficial to athletes and runners? What makes Yin so superbly special?
Take it from Bernie Clark, a yoga teacher, Yin Yoga enthusiast, and author of YinSights:
Running places a lot of stress on the knees, hips and lower back. While the muscles that move these joints do get stronger the more we run, they can also get tighter. Many professional athletes require tight muscles to give them a springing effect (think of pro basketball players: they do have quite tight hamstrings, and that is what helps launch them up to the basket…the tight hamstrings act like springs.) However, us “normal” people who are more concerned with running for health reasons rather than performance reasons, do want to have a reasonable degree of flexibility and range of motion.
Chronically engaged muscles tend to shorten, which creates tightness and reduces our range of motion. The reduction in the range of motions comes both from the muscles shortening but also from the joints tightening. Yin Yoga will help open the joints back to their normal range of motion (which everyone, including pro athletes need) and will help to stretch out the fascial bags that encase the muscles. In short, Yin Yoga will help regain the natural range of motion for all areas of the body tightened by running: the knees, the hips and the lower back.
From a mental point of view: we all know that running can be a meditation. Sometimes however, our minds are just freely floating while we run. It is not a meditation at all; it is an escape. In our Yin Yoga practice we can train the mind to focus, concentrate and enjoy the present moment. With this training, we may find that we are more present while we are running, allowing us to enjoy the scenery or appreciate our body while we move.
…When is it best to do Yin Yoga? If the intention is to work the physical body and open the deeper connective tissues, this is best done before a vigorous workout. We would like the muscles to be cool so that the stress of the yoga practice goes deeper into the connective tissues.
So, there you have it. Clearly, Yin Yoga is where it’s at!
A Breakdown of Yin Yoga Benefits
- Restores/resets posture and function
- Prevents asymmetries in the body
- Eases injury
- Prevents injury
- Trains the brain
- Expands range of movement
- Promotes fascial elasticity – the casing surrounding all of our inside parts – around the organs, muscles, and everything!
Be wowed by Yin Yoga’s awesomeness in this fresh Yin Yoga video for athletes with Sage Rountree. In this 61-minute online yoga class, enjoy a Yin approach to working around the hips. In long holds of still poses on the floor, you’ll sharpen your focus, develop a meditative awareness, and tune in to the subtle – and not so subtle – movements of energy in your body. Take refuge in this quiet practice and finish with a new sense of centeredness and openness in your hips and spine. Very nice.
We offer more online Yin Yoga videos, too! Check out our array of Yin abundance in a class search. Just check “Yin” under styles.
It should now be apparent to all you athletes and runners: You must, without further delay, YINtegrate this style of yoga into your training to renew, achieve balance, and move freely.
Aug 2, 2012
A lot of Olympic athletes are hush-hush when it comes to their training strategy. The word is out, though, on some. What’s the word? Yoga.
It comes as no real surprise to learn that many of the 2012 Olympians have used yoga as an integral part of their training to improve athletic performance, remain injury-free, and cope with stress. Learn how yoga has helped these five female athletes on the U.S. Olympic team and how yoga can help you!
- Yoga Increases Speed and Swiftness
Hope Solo, the stellar goalkeeper of the US women’s soccer team, told Nike Women that yoga enhances her speed and swiftness on the soccer field. “A lot of times simple stretching takes away from your speed, so for me dynamic yoga gives me the ability and empowers me to keep my speed and elongate my muscles,” she shared.
- Yoga Boosts Physical and Mental Strength
Evelyn (Evie) Stevens, Olympic cyclist, is also on Team Specialized-Lululemon. In a YouTube video, “Cycle faster.Do yoga”, Stevens admits that she often brings her practice on the road with her. “Fortunately, my teammates are very kind, and they’re okay with me doing my yoga in the corner of the hotel room,” she said. As for yoga? “I love it—it helps mentally, physically, and I think it’s helped my strength.” Take a lesson from Stevens and bring your yoga with you on the road. No excuses.
- Yoga Enhances Flexibility and Recovery
According to About.com, Rebecca Soni, a swimmer who just won a silver in the 100-meter breaststroke (Go Soni!!), started a yoga practice to develop more flexibility in her shoulders and back and to recover from intense training sessions.
- Yoga Blocks Out Distractions
Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukor began practicing Bikram while in high school. She told About.com that yoga helps her to stay more in tune with herself. Yoga “teaches you to block out the distraction from the outside world and really become in tune with how you are feeling,” she says. “I think being able to center myself and retreat into my own little world is the best thing I’ve taken away from yoga.”
- Yoga Cultivates Greater Awareness and Relaxation
Rebecca Bross complements her gymnastic training with Hatha yoga classes. Like Kukor, she does yoga to enhance body awareness and relaxation.
It’s clear that yoga is playing a bigger and bigger role in the athletic world. Will yoga simply remain a supplement for training? Or will yoga become its own Olympic event? Who knows…
What we do know is that a dedicated yoga practice improves us, challenges us, and transforms us on and off the mat, Olympian or not.
Take it from these Olympians, these forces of nature: Yoga works.
Jul 17, 2012
At this point, we all realize how awesome yoga is. We all know that yoga complements other forms of exercise. It’s almost a broken record. Yoga complements running; yoga enhances cycling; yoga increases sports performance; and so on. Look, I have no doubt. Yoga is freakin’ fabulous. I, personally, think yoga complements everything. But how about…I put my thing down, flip around and reverse it. Huh?
I mean, let’s talk about how other forms of exercise complement yoga for a hot second. Wha-wha? That’s crazy. Okay, hold up. It’s not crazy.
Yoga is amazing, but, last I checked, it’s not the only way to workout, develop strength, and feel empowered.
Yesterday, I touched a bit on some yoga “no-nos.” I briefly noted running and lifting weights. Why are these off limits you might ask? Well, they really aren’t off limits. There’s some thought, however, that running, over time, damages your joints and weight lifting just gets you bulky, not necessarily sculpted, and puts too much weight on your joints. Okay. Maybe. All physical endeavors put you at some risk for injury, even yoga. Some mornings after an intense yoga class, my joints ache, I can barely move, and I feel like I got hit by a bus. Yoga can hurt, too!
That being said, I don’t feel like doing yoga every day of the year. Some days, I’ve had enough, so I switch it up. Personally, I think it’s awesome to have a smorgasbord of exercise options to dabble in. In fact, I believe variety helps your yoga practice. If anything, you’ll never get bored.
Let’s tackle running. Why does running benefit your yoga practice? Well, there’s nothing quite like a run to accelerate your heart rate. Running, arguably the best form of cardio, increases stamina and endurance. Running also has a mental edge to it. You want to stop, but you keep going. You keep struggling and struggling until that addictive runner’s high kicks in – the prize for your sweat. Maybe it takes 1 mile, maybe it takes 10, but you know that if you keep forging ahead that feeling of lightness and bliss will surface. At that moment, worries, fears, distractions and all mind chatter slips away. In yoga, that’s what we call nirvana, a temporary experience of bliss. Yoga, clearly, isn’t the only way practice nirvana and bliss out.
Running also boosts confidence. My best friend told me she’d never be a runner (or a yogi for that matter). Now, she runs just about every day, crosses race finish lines, and kicks butt in triathlons. You know what? She feels damn good about herself. Empowered. She’s overcome an obstacle. She ran off her doubts. She’s completely retrained and transformed her brain and body. Overcoming this obstacle has rendered her more open to exploring other obstacles, yoga included.
I already hit on it: Body transformation. Running battles the bulge and takes off those extra pounds that maybe you’re looking to release. I believe that you can do yoga as any shape or size, but being slim and strong certainly doesn’t hurt.
Moreover, running improves coordination (kind of important in yoga). Try going on a trail run and you’ll see what I mean. You’ve gotta navigate the terrain, scale rocks, jump over ditches, hop over creeks, etc. Even running on the pavement can be an obstacle course – dodging cars, watching traffic, avoiding potholes, glass, etc. You gotta be quick on your feet, twinkle toes.
It doesn’t stop at running. Apart from my yoga practice, I rock climb, hike, strength and resistance train, and swim. I find these forms of exercise to greatly enrich my practice. Yoga requires a great deal of strength, stamina, and mental prowess. A little training off the mat helps you to get in tune with your inner warrior.
But when you are ready to get on the mat, where’s a good place to start if you’re more athletically minded? Here are some suggestions.
- Are you a gung ho runner? Check out Sage Rountree’s Yoga for Runners class.
- Just finished an intense cardio session? Try out this After Cardio Practice with Rolf Gates.
- Need to wind down after a brutal physical feat? Take on a post workout flow: Athletic Recovery, Postgame Recovery, Post-Workout Core and Stretching, Post-Workout Stretching Series, or Post-Workout Hips, all with Sage Rountree.
- Need to get psyched up for a run, a bike ride, a hike, etc.? Get prepped with a short Dynamic Warm-up.
- Cyclist? Try Yoga for Cyclists with Sage Rountree.
- Want to work in more cardio/resistance/strength training? Try an online Core Fusion class.
Work it hard off the mat and boost your yoga game.
May 29, 2012
Not sure what you need today? Brisk and snappy? Slow and steady? My friend, you need a class with options!
And we are here to please.
In Sage Rountree’s new online yoga class for athletes (and everyone), you’ll move through a standing-pose flow at various paces. After checking in with the state of your body, mind, and spirit, you’ll set an intention to carry you through the flow, then move at a pace that serves your needs moment to moment. Finish with some lovely twisting and hip stretching, before returning to your body and intention. Grab a block and a bolster (if you have it) for a nice heart-opening to start the class.
Check in with your own needs and enjoy your practice on your terms.
Mar 12, 2012
Release, relax, and open your hips as you brush up on your American art history in Sage Rountree’s new online yoga class. This short sequence (14 minutes) is perfect for after a workout or a long day. You’ll stretch your hips, back and chest from all directions. Relax into a prone twist; stretch the outer hip in a user-friendly variation on pigeon pose; release your hip flexors and chest in “wild camel,” and soften into cobbler pose both as a forward fold and as a reclining pose. Our starting position evokes the iconic Andrew Wyeth painting, “Christina’s World.”
Feb 27, 2012
Continuing with Sage Rountree’s new online yoga series, today’s class builds upon the foundations introduced in last Wednesday’s class, further exploring the concept of safely exploring your edge. Many athletes are conditioned to push as hard as possible, ignoring bodily cues of pain and discomfort. Similarly, many beginner yoga students are unused to differentiating between a comfortable edge of exertion and overdoing. Sage’s classes will help you safely tune into your body’s signals, improving your athletic performance and overall quality of life.
In this online yoga class for athletes and everyone, you’ll look at ways to put out an honest effort, without holding back but without overdoing it. Moving through Sun Salutations, core planks, and lunges, you’ll find the appropriate edge while building self-awareness for sports and life.
Dec 1, 2011
Join Sage Rountree in her newest Yoga for Athletes class on YogaVibes, just posted today!
In this online yoga class for athletes and everyone, you will work your whole body, with a particular focus on the hips. You’ll stretch and strengthen your feet in standing balance poses, work your core and shoulders in planks and bows, and unwind in a lovely reclining hip-stretch sequence at the end.
Check back frequently to view Sage’s weekly yoga classes. If you are new to YogaVibes, check out Sage’s growing library of full-length classes and shorter sequences.
Click on the video below to see this week’s Yoga for Athletes Class: Whole-ly Hips.
Nov 23, 2011
Enjoy this new online yoga video, the newest class in Sage Rountree’s weekly Yoga for Athletes series. Entitled, Face your Fear, Sage will help you investigate the poses that scare us. You will face your fear of falling, your fear of looking silly, your fear of vulnerability, and your fear of letting go. It’s often that fear of letting go that can trip us up this time of year.
Throughout this online yoga class, you will also unwind your hips and legs in an inverted position. Take the time to face your fears on the mat so that you can enjoy the holidays free from the stress of all the things we think we should be doing. Treat yourself to a yoga class and then enjoy your Thanksgiving Day!
Nov 18, 2011
Are you an athlete who is looking to gain a competitive edge, desirous of a way to heal your over-worked body, or just curious about how yoga can complement your training? You have come to the right place!
YogaVibes is honored to have partnered with Sage Rountree to film her weekly Yoga for Athletes classes, taught at Carrboro Yoga Company, the studio that she co-owns in the Chapel Hill, NC area. Sage is an internationally recognized authority in yoga for athletes and an endurance sports coach. She is the author of many books on yoga for athletes and regularly writes for Yoga Journal, Runner’s World, Lava Magazine, USA Triathlon Life, and Endurance Magazine. Sage’s intention is to “help you optimize how you use your body and breath to achieve a sense of balance, connection, and peace – both in sports and in life.”
You will find new online yoga classes from Sage here on YogaVibes, as part of her weekly Yoga for Athletes series. There are already more than 30 online yoga classes from Sage in our library of content, on topics such as the Core, Sacroiliac Joint, Hips, Glutes, Meditation, Pigeon Many Ways, Post-Workout Stretching, Dynamic Warm-Ups, and so much more! Discover and explore Sage’s thoughtful, intelligent Yoga for Athletes videos and unleash your hidden warrior. To learn more about Sage, visit her website at www.sagerountree.com.