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Yoga is a practice that strengthens the mind and provides mobility to the physical body. Athlete practising yoga regularly strengthen their physical body as well as improving flexibility. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of the swimming yoga combination. We will highlight the best yoga poses to help improve any swimmers ability and performance. Swimmers benefit from doing yoga in the following ways;
- Improved Flexibility and Strength
- Enhanced Physical Awareness
- Smoother Movement
- Preventing Injuries and Speed-up Recovery
Improved Flexibility and Strength
To swim like a champ, you need to work on your physical mobility. Yoga increases the range of motion without compromising the joints. Yoga also allows the tissues to increase in length and provides stability to your joints. This leads to greater range of motion in the shoulders and ankles. Yoga will also increase muscle strength and improve core stability. Strength and endurance are key components in a swimmers arsenal. Doing both dynamic and static yoga poses can develop your body strength in an organic way. Yoga promotes a strong and agile body. So you should take the swimming yoga strength-oriented movements from the mat to the water.
Enhancing Physical Awareness
Yoga helps a swimmer become more aware of the physical capabilities of the body. Posture awareness is important in maintaining strength and mobility when moving in the water. Yoga focuses on alignment when entering and holding the poses. To maintain the correct alignment you need to be physically aware of your body. In a yoga practice you are encouraged to bring specific attention to how the body feels.
Yoga, in its most simple form is breathing and feeling which you can focus on when on the mat. Fulfilling the poses and connecting to your breathing enhances your mind and body. Breathing exercises practiced in yoga ease your mind thereby relaxing your muscles. This allows you to perform your exercises session in a completely relaxed state of mind. After a while, each practice session becomes a 'flowing act' for swimmers.
Preventing Injuries and Speed-up Recovery
The swimming yoga combination improves body awareness which benefits swimmers by preventing injuries. Doing yoga poses that focus on balance, core strength and stability will lessen the chance of injury. Yoga will help remove movement deficiencies and iron out strength imbalances. They are the main causes of long term injuries. Therapeutic yoga is effective in preventing and overcoming injuries.
After many training sessions, swimmers often feel soreness and stiffness in their muscles. Swimming is a low impact activity but repetition or overuse of muscles can lead to injury. Restorative yoga can increase swimmers mobility and reduce stiffness in muscles. With the use of props during your yoga sessions, you are able to allow your stiff body to loosen-up. The swimming yoga combination helps the body recover from a training session faster.
Top Five Yoga Poses for Swimmers:
Downward Facing Dog - This yoga pose helps supply blood to your brain. In this inversion pose, you support your body using your hands and legs. This pose helps to improve your body posture as well as your body balance. It also strengthens your arms, shoulders, feet, calves and hamstring muscles. Finally it increases energy levels and helps to ease any anxiety.
Locust pose - If a swimmer wants to improve their stroke, locust pose is a great place to start. It is a challenging pose that requires effort to lift the body of the floor and hold for a few breaths. It strengthens your core and the entire back of the body. The deep core muscles that support the spine also get a good training in this posture. Finally Locust pose conditions your legs and glutes. The gluteus maximus contracts and strengthens on the way up, and lengthens and relaxes as you lower down.
Bridge Pose - This is a great pose for swimmers to do to improve their breathing. It will open the upper body and reduce the tightness around the torso. Bridge is fantastic for the hips and opening the pelvis, counteracting the damage caused by sitting too much. It lengthens and strengthens the spine, energises the body, and stimulates the endocrine and nervous systems.
Upward Facing Dog - One of the more physically demanding yoga poses for swimmers. It is great for warming up the muscles as this stretch and will get your blood flowing. The focus of the posture is to open your chest and also strengthen the back and arms. Highly recommended if you sit behind a desk or a car wheel for far too many hours. the The pose has benefits if you have breathing difficulties. Upward facing Dog aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.
Bow Pose - The main benefit of doing for bow pose for swimmers is that it opens the shoulders. Improving the mobility and joint function will increase the range of motion in the shoulders. Bow pose also provides an intense stretch to the chest. Swimmers should try to hold the pose longer to improve their breathing capacity. Holding the pose will also create new strength in the upper back. If a swimmer needs to improve their stroke,