005 Building a Solid Foundation

Different sports require you to specialise in different ways. However, there are some key principles that are probably common to all movement-based sports.

First of all there will be certain positions athletes will find themselves in, and moving through time and time again. Thus it is a priority that an athlete is extremely comfortable within all these positions.

Secondly, not only should they be able to feel relaxed in these positions, they will almost certainly be required to be strong and stable through these positions in order to perform well.

Thirdly, it is likely that, because of the numerous times the athlete is required to perform these positions, they will need a good level of metabolic conditioning so they can maintain a good standard of of performance for the duration of time in which they must continuously move.

Lastly, there is always some element of mental strength and stamina that is involved in being able to keep an edge over your competition; it could be holding your nerve, knowing how to pace yourself, or being able to get yourself to relax etc.

I love playing sports, but it wasn’t until I started CrossFit that I realised how well yoga set me up for sports performance. The more I learned and trained in this way, the more I discovered how perfect yoga is for laying a really solid foundation for anyone at any level who wants to perform well at sports.

In yoga there is an ideal evolution of how we work with our structures. First and foremost it is important that all the joints are able to move through a sufficient range of movement so that they are deemed highly functional and flexible. Once this sufficient level of flexibility is achieved, then strength and stability within these ranges of movement can be the next focus.

Strength training also has an order to it: first a student should be able to support their own body weight within the positions, and then weights can start to be introduced - it is a little known fact that traditional yoga does actually make use of weights in this way.

Yet it doesn’t stop there, true strength in yoga is not merely that you can hold a position, but that you can hold a position and breathe well within it. A good breath pattern within a position demonstrates that the nervous system is also strong, and is not merely relying on brute muscle strength - which would make someone much more likely to break within the pose, and perhaps even sustain an injury.

1) Flexibility

2) Stability

3) Bodyweight strength

4) Extra weight strength

+Good breathing pattern within all of these

So as you can imagine, if you work in this way, getting into any position you need for your sport will be aided, stability and strength can be worked on, and also inadvertently by working on a good breathing pattern within static positions, it sets you up with an ability to breathe better when higher metabolic demands are made of your body. Just think, if you can’t breathe well at rest or statically holding your required positions, how do you think you’re going to breathe well when your sport demands that you speed the process up for many repetitions?

But yoga is not just about the physical, it also addresses our frequent inability to focus for long periods of time, and helps us become more self-aware of our thoughts and emotions. This means we can also help our mental strength, if this happens to be something that’s holding us back from performing at our best.

It doesn’t matter if your training has meant you’ve skipped some of the steps within the ideal yoga way of conditioning our bodies - for most people flexibility is what is sorely missed - through keeping up a regular and, ideally, individualised yoga practice you can help work backwards towards gaining functional movement within all of your joints, making you more efficient in the long-term, and less likely to get injured.

If you're interested in helping your sports performance through Yoga Therapy contact me with any questions, or the front desk at Be (www.beurbanwellness.com) for booking a full holistic assessment + initial session.