It's an overused term, but apt for the many who are denied athletic freedom by their Monday through Friday workweek grind. Come Saturday "Weekend Warriors" are eager and fearless despite unconditioned muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons.
Five days of desk sitting and commuting restrict the body's range of movement. The result? Tight hips, shoulders, and possibly a misaligned spine. Solution? Yoga. Yoga is the perfect complement to help the body receive the dynamic movements and actions required for the sports warriors play. Yoga improves flexibility, mental focus, balance, and oxygen uptake.
Half Pigeon Pose – Most athletes suffer from tight hips and this pose targets many of those constricted muscles deep within the hips and glutes. Tight hips are also often the source of knee pain.
Getting into the pose: From Downward-Facing Dog, exhale and bring your right knee to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot toward left wrist. If you have open and flexible hips, work on bringing your right shin parallel to the top of your mat. Flex your right foot to protect your knee and make sure your hips are square to the front of your mat. Your left toes should be pointed straight back. Slowly descend down to your forearms, maybe extending your arms forward and resting forehead to the mat.
Modification: For Supine Pigeon, lay on your back with your knees bent and place left ankle over your right thigh. Pull your right knee in toward your chest, thread your left arm through the space you made between your legs and interlace your hands behind your right hamstring. Flex both feet. Keep shoulders and head on mat.
Warrior 3 – This pose is perfect for balance and body awareness. It’s great for strengthening the hamstrings and ankles. Also helps lessen muscle imbalances, which is the culprit for many overuse injuries like tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
Getting into the pose: From Crescent Lunge, exhale and stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor and palms facing each other. Synchronize the straightening of the front leg and the lifting of the back leg. Bring the hip of the raised leg toward the floor until the two hip are square to the floor. Energize the back leg and extend it strongly toward the wall behind you; reach just as actively in the opposite direction with the arms.
Modification: Place hands in prayer at heart.
Half Fish Pose- This is great for spinal mobility by opening up the spine and releases tension in the upper body and neck. It also promotes the fresh flow of oxygenated blood while wringing out any toxins and metabolic waste.
Getting into the pose: From a seated position, bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, then slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip. Lay the outside of the left leg on the floor. Step the right foot over the left leg and stand it on the floor outside your left hip. The right knee will point directly up at the ceiling. Place right hand on mat behind your tailbone, and your left tricep on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. Exhale and twist. Repeat on opposite side.
Modification: Extend left leg out in front of you.
Dolphin Pose - This pose is excellent for cyclists by mimicking the proper body alignment when riding. It opens chest, lungs, shoulders and hamstrings while strengthening arms and shoulders.
Getting into the pose: From a table top position, bring your forearms to the floor with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Firmly press your palms together and press your forearms into the floor. Tuck your toes, then exhale and lift your hips away from the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them away from the spine and lift them away from your ears. If you have flexible hamstrings, slowly straighten your legs as you sink your heels toward the floor.
Allright sports enthusiasts, commit to the moves and feel better! Are you interested in more Yoga content? Take a look at our "Yogisms" Archives! Or any of the other Blog categories to the right of the main Blog Homepage. And follow us on Twitter for all things active/healthy & travel related.