VIDEO: Yoga for Triathletes Part 3 - Standing Poses

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The yoga standing poses in this segment comprise the tree, warrior, triangle, extended side angle and downward dog. These poses will aid in balance and provide gentle stretching to your entire body.

By Carrie Burchett   

This is the third of a monthly series of yoga sessions designed for the triathlete.  Each session builds 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.

--> See the previous session 2, Sun Salutations

Session 3 - Yoga Standing Poses
The focus for this second session will be the Standing Poses.  These are a series of 5 poses that flow from one to another and are coordinated by your breathing.  In this series we repeat these poses for the left and right side of the body.

  1. Tree Pose
  2. Warrior II Pose
  3. Triangle Pose
  4. Extended Side Angle Pose
  5. Downward Dog
  6. -->Repeat beginning with Warrior II for other side of the body

Hatha yoga
This 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 triathlete
As 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 area
  • Should 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.

    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

    About the Author
    Carrie Burchett has been certified and teaching yoga since 2004 and practicing since 2001.  She has led yoga seminars and lectures at the John S. Knight Center and the Cuyahoga Falls Library. Private, corporate and group lessons available. Akron, Ohio based.

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    date: February 18, 2008