Using Yoga as an intense form of cross-training can be extremely beneficial to a number of sporting activities. Not only does it strengthen, tone, and elongate our muscles, it teaches us to be present in the moment while placing our focus on our breathing.
Learn how our expert guest blogger incorporated this technique into her training and how it improved her performance.
Yoga on the Trail
Bringing your yoga practice with you on the trail is a necessity for three reasons: it teaches you to focus on the present, it helps you to use your breath, and it soothes your muscles.
Our yoga practice teaches us to stay present while we hike. To keep our minds focused on the task at hand: getting up that mountain. Whether your in the studio or on the trail, letting your mind wander means disastrous results like falling out of a pose or slipping on a rock could lead to injury. Stay a happy hiker by intentionally placing your feet on soft earth or dry rock.
Have you ever hiked uphill with 15 pounds on your back? Your quads are screaming, your pack is pulling at your shoulders, your lungs can’t seem to get enough air into them? Try using your “ujjayi breathe” to ease the discomfort. Breathe in through slowly your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine sending the breath to your areas of pain. By focusing your breath in these areas, your mind connects with your body and the pain becomes manageable.
At the end of your hike, the constant use of your muscles and build up of lactic acid will leave you hobbling to work the next day. Try to build in at least 5 or 10 minutes to do a few yoga postures at the end to release some of the tension that your muscles are holding. Even better: every time you stop to take a break or a picture, do a sun salutation or too to keep your body warm and your muscles loose. Your legs will thank you the next day!
How has yoga helped to improve your training?