Maintaining Performance with Sport Yoga

Brighton and Hove is a city passionate about sports and fitness, (you need only head down to the seafront on a Saturday morning to see bootcamps, runners, cyclists and SUP). We’re also well catered for yoga studios and community centres with wonderful teachers offering classes from Ashtanga to Kundalini, Rocket to Yin.

I’m in awe of how much time people invest in their sport; training, nutrition, 6am starts, weekends spent researching the right trainers for weightlifting (or should it be barefoot?), BCAAs, powders and foam rolling. Anything to give that little competitive edge!

‘Sport Yoga is whole-body flexibility and functional movement training. It’s inspired by yoga, but adapted for sport.’

Whether you’re a runner, into CrossFit or partial to a spin class, you know the endorphin rush you get after a session is highly addictive! So there’s nothing more frustrating than getting an injury which leaves you unable to train. This is where Sport Yoga comes in. Muscles that are constantly contracting will shorten and these short muscles limit range of motion (ROM) as well as increasing the potential for injury.

Muscle performance is limited. Muscles can contract or relax. They cannot do both at the same time. When the body is restricted, and held in one shape the mind receives that shape like clay in the hand of a sculptor. Rather than adding new skills or aptitudes, yoga practice strips away the coverings of our own innate abilities. When the mind relaxes its stubborn desire to stay the same, ease and comfort are felt.

Any repetitive movement required for your sport will create muscular imbalances but no matter how badly you have used your body or however improperly paired your muscle groups have become, you can reverse the trend. It doesn’t take much to start to affect some change and create some slack in chronically shortened muscles.

Sport Yoga;

  • Increases overall suppleness and flexibility reduces risk of injury and assists with injury rehabilitation.

  • Helps to reduce fatigue and the negative effects of being muscle bound

  • Enhances co-ordination and agility

  • Reduces anxiety and stress

  • Increases immune function which allow for better sleep, rest and recovery and reducing performance anxiety when athletes are under pressure.

Here are some Sport Yoga tips;

  • Warm up! If you don’t have a set warm up as part of your training programme, design your own. Don’t be afraid to arrive for a class in the gym early to do some warm up moves for yourself. Consider the movements you’re going to make in your session, and do some of those (no weight, full range of motion, focus on form) You want to be sweaty by the time your training session starts.

  • Focus on form. In yoga it’s easy to align joints as sequences flow through postures. In team sports for example, this isn’t possible, movements are fast and often unpredictable. However, bear in mind how much time is spent training versus actually competing… Most injuries occur during training. Focus on your form, try not to count the reps, but make the reps count.

  • Rest. Give it the respect it deserves. Pro athletes know the benefits. You don’t need a big budget for this one. Plan your recovery days and give them as much effort as you give to your training.

Invest in the long term health of your joints

Sport Yoga sessions with me are done on a 1-2-1 basis, so I can get really technical about your training and the way you move. We work together to identify restrictions in the body and then bring the joints back into a normal range of motion. The really bendy stuff is for yogis and unsuitable for athletes. Short and simple sequences increase the pliability of muscles and tissues in the body, so they can absorb the shock and impact of your sport. It’s quick and effective.

Rosie Iles-Jonas teaches group and 1-2-1 sessions in Hove. She’s also the yoga teacher at The Float Spa and Brighton and Hove Albion.

or more details, check out The Float Spa

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