yoga for athletes

  • Get Down & Dirty with Dolphin Pose

    asana

    For some, Dolphin Pose is a mildly gruesome pose to hold. Sure, it may not feel too great, but it is an awesome (and necessary) pose to regularly practice if you envision pursuing a serious inversion practice down the road. In fact, Dolphin serves as a way to assess your readiness for more intense inversions. You want to get real comfortable and solid in it before you move on to bigger and bolder asana, such as Pinchamayurasana. If Dolphin Pose is still inspiring silent profanities to pop up, you don’t want to move on just yet. You want to practice it until you can effortlessly hold it – until you LOVE it. You want to feel like you could rock Dolphin Pose all day with a smile on your face.

    To build your strength and steadiness in Dolphin Pose, turn to these free online yoga videos, demoing proper Dolphin and Dolphin Plank alignment and some sweet variations.

    Dolphin and Dolphin Plank Pose with Gail Grossman

    Learn how to do Dolphin and Dolphin plank in this free online yoga video. Set up the pose before you move on to the following Dolphin exercises and variations.

    dolphin pose

    Upper Body Core Stability & Strength Exercises, Dolphin Push-ups with Philip Clift

    In this free online yoga video, you will learn upper-body core stability and strengthening exercises to help build the strength needed to work on arm balances and inversions.

    dolphin pose

    Dynamic Dolphin Planks with Jim Ferris

    This dynamic plank exercise is great core training for athletes and anyone wishing to tone and strengthen their core muscles. In this free online yoga video, you will explore side planks from Dolphin Pose. Learn to keep the core line tight, while really working the obliques and other sports-specific muscles.

    dolphin pose

    Invite Dolphin Pose regularly into your home practice. Learn to love it before you leave it.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Dolphin Pose via www.yogachocolatelove.com

  • Strengthen Your Stroke: Yoga for Swimmers

    Full Wheel

    If you want to spice up your current "dryland training" regimen, consider adding a bit of flow into your program. Yoga will provide many benefits to your stroke including: restoration of body alignment and balance, improved core and over-all body strength, enhanced flexibility and body extension, greater stamina, heightened breath awareness, stronger kicking power, and greater concentration and mindfulness. All of this will make you a more balanced athlete and an even stronger swimmer.

    Test out the yogic waters in this half-hour online yoga practice, specifically designed for swimmers and appropriate for any level of yoga experience. Relieve neck, shoulder, and back stiffness in this Vinyasa experience with Sage Rountree, author of The Athlete's Guide to Yoga. Stretch out the areas of the body that tighten as a result of heavy swimming. Sage will offer clear demonstration and cues to bring you through a simple series of asana and breath exercises. Work your focus, observe your breath, and better your stroke by enjoying these longer holds of highly accessible yoga poses. (30 mins.)

    Sage Rountree yoga online

    For more of an intense strength building experience, try out our Vinyasa yoga videos or Ashtanga yoga videos. To deeply integrate the breath and body and increase your breath capacity (very important in the pool), practice our Pranayama yoga videos.

    Hit the mat to strengthen and support your performance in the pool.

    ~Tess

  • Yoga for the Hamstrings

    Are your hamstrings in a tough spot? Sealed tight? Screaming for mercy?

    Liberate the stiffness with some yoga online. Here are 5 online yoga videos to release hamstring tightness. Work out all of the knots so you can go even deeper in your practice.

    seated forward fold
    1. Exhale Flow Yoga: Focus on the Hamstrings with Stefanie Eris This online Vinyasa yoga class focuses on strengthening and stretching your thighs, hamstrings, hip flexors, and feet, helping to ground you and truly connect you to the earth beneath you. (59 mins.)
    2. YogaWorks Hamstring-Opening Flow with Kia Miller In this online Vinyasa flow, Kia teaches a signature YogaWorks class that balances precise instruction and alignment with breath, movement and flow with a special focus on opening the hamstrings and forward folding. A flow of Sun Salutations and postures are skillfully sequenced and modifications are given to individualize the practice for each student. (63 mins.)
    3. Hamstrings: Sage Rountree's Yoga for Athletes Series In this online yoga class for athletes (and everyone!), you will work to stretch all areas of the hamstrings from standing positions. Using Sun Salutations, pyramid pose, rishi folds, and a wide-legged straddle, you'll experiment to find your personal tight spots and bring them into balance. Finish with some fun core work and a hip opening sequence. If you have a block handy, you'll learn new ways to check your alignment with it. (73 mins.)
    4. Core Fusion® Thigh & Hamstring Series with Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito In this free online yoga video, join the Core Fusion® co-creators as they take you through a series of exercises that strengthen and stretch your thighs and hamstrings.
    5. Chair Yoga Break: Hamstring Stretch with Margaux Permutt Enjoy a gentle, restorative chair yoga stretch for the hamstrings and lower back in this free online yoga video.

    Show your hammies some mercy, yogis.

    ~Tess

  • Hamstrings Meet Hanumanasana

    If you’re battling super tight hamstrings, Hanumanasana (full splits) may feel like a long shot to you. I feel ya. However, instead of creating excuses or doubting your Hanumanasana potential, do the work. Throw those hamstrings into the fire. Toss them into an inferno of hamstring-opening poses and Hanumanasana variations. Challenge those testy, tight muscles to reach your full Hanumanasana potential. Show those hammies who’s boss. Hanumanasana

    To start the hamstring opening process, practice Cristi Christensen’s new Hamstring Opening Flow filmed at Exhale Spa. In this vinyasa slow flow, you will experience a variety of hamstring-opening poses. Start in a flowing standing sequence to warm up the body, followed by Sun Salutations and a series of targeted core work. Practice a grounding standing sequence with opportunities to try Eka Pada Koundinyasana II, Hanumanasana, and standing balance poses, such as Bird of Paradise and standing splits. End this lovely online yoga class with cooling backbends, restorative inversions, and hip openers. Bonus: Enjoy music provided by Shaman's Dream. (87 mins.)

    Hamstring-opening yoga video with Cristi Christensen

    If that’s too much fire for you, practice Joan Hyman’s Hanumanasana! Post Workout Stretch & Cool Down. This 30-minute online yoga sequence is designed as a cool down for runners, hikers, or any athlete looking to wind down and stretch out from intense physical activity. Post hip and hamstring stretching, you will move into the peak pose: Hanumanasana! Practice this online yoga video to stretch the psoas muscles, which can be overworked on athletes. As a restorative online yoga class, expect the focus to be on stretching; not vinyasa. (31 mins.)

    Hanumanasana

    I can’t stress enough the importance of Hanumanasana. Mastery of this pose opens the door for a kick-ass inversion practice. Why? Think about it visually. When you have full splits, all you basically have to do is plant your hands (or forearms) on the ground, walk your feet in real close to your head (for any inversion), lift one leg, and (if you have full splits) you are essentially in the inversion (minus a leg). From this place, all you have to do is pick up the grounded leg to meet the lifted/extended one. This takes the oh-so-popular kicking-up-into-the-pose phenomenon out of the equation. Instead, provided adequate core strength, the lower leg floats up with ease and grace. That’s why a Hanumanasana practice is so helpful. It really does expand your access to a deeper, more intelligent inversion practice.

    Hanumanasana and Handstands From here, all she would have to do is place her hands down to prep for handstand. Then, she would be in the pose (minus a leg)! Lift that leg and BOOM: Handstand.

    Don’t put off your Hanumanasana practice. Start today! Start this second! Give those hammies a wake up call.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credits: Wall Splits via www.califitcakes.tumblr.com & Standing Splits via Marc FotoGrafik Image

  • Yoga for Tennis

    Are you suffering from a bad case of tennis elbow? Are you noticing some body imbalances? Are your shoulders as tight as a drum?

    If so, your body is sending you signals. It’s saying: Beef up on your shoulder and upper back strength, re-establish proper alignment and body symmetry, open up those shoulders, and please….please do yoga!

    Listen to your body and hit the mat to experience relief, improve balance, boost strength, and soak up all the other benefits of the practice. Yoga will do a lot for your game. With its emphasis on alignment, the practice will help to even out any body imbalances resulting from the use of the same arm for forehand and backhand strokes. Shoulder opening asanas will open up the shoulder joints to beat out any tightness resulting from serves and ground strokes. The practice as a whole will increase balance, core strength, and body intelligence.

    Paul Newman playing tennis Paul Newman w/ Tennis Racket

    But the benefits extend beyond the physical body to the mental body. Yoga will enhance your calm and focus by teaching you to deeply connect to your breath. Connection to the breath will help you to stay rooted in the present moment and keep your head in the game.

    To get going with your yoga practice, check out the newest addition to our online sports-specific yoga videos with Gwen Lawrence: Power Yoga for Tennis.

    This online yoga class will address the obvious needs of all you tennis and racquet sports athletes: the shoulders and wrists, and, also, the legs. As you know, tennis is a very active, agile sport. So, not only do you need flexibility, but you also need strength in the legs and feet to get the best, most powerful push-off to change directions on a dime. At the heart of this sport is a strong core. In this online yoga class, you will toughen it up to unleash the champion within. (34 mins.)

    Gwen Lawrence Yoga Online

    Step-up your power, presence, and intelligence on the court.

    ~Tess

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