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yoga-poses-for-athletes-videoYoga is Great for Athletes!

Even those of us tough mudders, half-marathoners and extreme sports divas could benefit from what we think is a "wimpy" workout.  The challenge for those of us that meet the above criteria is that we have to stay still and do some deep breathing when performing Yoga poses.  But look at Madonna.  She is a Yoga queen and has the body to show it!

Yoga Movement and Breath

Yoga is based on Eastern religious principles and the practice is focused on balance, flexibility and using our own muscles to support body weight.  And really, though I am not a Yoga enthusiast (yet), getting a little burned out on other workouts has given me pause as to whether to try Yoga.  In this video, Andrea Metcalf shows us three Yoga posesto try, including good cues on form and breathing.

Yoga is about sustaining movement and incorporating your breath.  Here are descriptions of the exercises Andrea Metcalf shows.  We'd encourage you, though, to watch her demonstrate and pay attention to her cues on breathing and proper form.

Top Yoga Poses for Athletes

Warrior Pose:  Point one foot straight forward so that the forward, or lead foot intersects with the arch of the other foot behind it.  Rotate hips away from the lead foot (to the left if the lead foot is the right foot), or to the right (if the lead foot is the left one).  Put arms straight out horizontally and balance, breathing deeply.  As you get stronger, inch front or lead foot out. 

Warrior Three or Balancing Stick Pose:  Put feet together, then slowly raise right or left leg behind you, like an arabesque, and at the same time straighten both arms in front of you, side by side and reaching forward.  Make sure the knees are not turning out.  Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.  Concentrate on breathing deeply and extending or stretching your body out, lengthening the body.

Triangle pose:   Just like the Warrior Pose, put one foot forward intersecting with other heel behind you.  Then as you turn your hips backward, reach arms instead to the side, keeping torso straight as you slide down the leg that is in front.  Slide arm down to shin level, or if you can go lower, go for it!  The other arm, meanwhile, should be pointing to the ceiling.  Again, as you get stronger you can move that lead leg out further.  And be sure to switch legs and do the same.

Yoga is a great way to get stronger and improve your flexibility.  Try these three poses and get good at them, then hit a yoga studio and show them what you've got!  And as an athlete or workout queen, it is always a good idea to keep tricking your body.  Yoga is just one of many great ways to keep weight off!

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