By Carrie Burchettwww.valleyartandyoga.com
This is the first of a monthly series of yoga sessions designed for the triathlete. Each session will build in complexity. Yoga classes are typically over an hour long, so we have broken up a class into segments. This will allow you to master each segment before moving on or combining it with the next.
Once we have all of the segments published, you can easily mix-and-match segments to fit your particular lifestyle and time constraints.
Session 1 - Yoga PosturesThe following are the postures used for this session in order:
Hatha yogaThis series is built around the Hatha yoga concepts typically practiced in the West. These concepts include several 'asanas' (postures), breath control and meditation to balance the mind via the different exercises. For triathletes, this will improve balance and core strength while also stretching your muscles.
How yoga helps the triathleteAs these sessions evolve into more complex poses, you will find that many of the poses support your bodyweight. Several yoga poses mimic exercises that you may do in the weight-room or gym (lunges, pushups, etc) but the notable difference is that these exercises are much more slower and controlled in yoga.
Also, many of the yoga poses will serve to gently stretch your muscles out. The yoga for this series will not focus on stretching your muscles further than they already do, but to work within your current body's boundaries. Over time and practice, you will gain flexibility.
As triathletes move into the off-season, now is the perfect time to switch gears and focus on your muscles, joints and core strength through slow and controlled movements.
How often to practice yoga?As often as you want. Though as triathletes training in three other disciplines, time is of the essence. Try to do yoga 2-3 times per week at the minimum. This will help your flexibility, strengthen your joints and improve your balance.
You can certainly do yoga 7 days a week too. It is preferable to do several shorter sessions (20-30minutes) during the week instead of a 90 minute long session once per week.
Find a yoga studio in your areaYogaFinder.comYoga.comShould I go to a yoga class?You may find it best to go to an actual yoga class once per week. Video tutorials are nice to get you going and to follow sessions during the week, but you don't have anyone correcting your form on a video. Taking a real yoga class once a week will allow the teacher to correct your form so that you are getting the most out of each pose.
Session 1 - Focus on BreathingThe focus for this first session will be on proper breathing and how to use your breath as your anchor. Breathing will be the foundation for the more complex and strenuous movements and poses that support your bodyweight which will come in later sessions.
Most yoga poses are to be held for 3-5 breaths. You can hold poses for as long as 10 breaths for additional difficulty.
Always inform your instructor of any injuries, illness, or acute discomfort prior to class. Yoga is very safe, but certain postures may aggravate irritated parts of the body. Benefits come from the awareness with which you stretch, not how far you stretch. Respect your body and its capabilities. The following guidelines help ensure your safety:
*Listen to and follow instructions carefully *Do not perform postures or movements that are painful *Breathe smoothly as you stretch *Do no hold your breath or strain to attain any position *Work gently, respecting your bodies abilities and limits *Ask for help if you are unsure of any movement *Pregnant women must consult their healthcare provider before starting yoga