Here's what a Quick Yoga Sequence for Athletes looks like
Whether you run, swim, hike, rock climb, golf, pole dance or pole vault, your an athlete.
Some of us compete in our chosen field, some of us tie our laces Tuesday and Thursdays without fail, and some of us dabble between a few fav's (and still some of us practice only in January. Sometimes February, if the resolutions are strong).
Whatever your game, here's a quick yoga sequence to stretch and release the major muscle groups we use in most activities (to get specific: hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips and the spine).
You don't have to be a yogi to enjoy these, although if you are, team them with a few rounds of sun salutation A for a longer practice.
Begin in Anjaneyasana
From downward facing dog, step your right foot forward in between your hands and lower your left knee to the ground or mat. Not familiar with downward facing dog? No problem. Come to all fours on the ground or mat, and step your left foot back and lower your left knee down.
Inhale, reach both arms up to the sky and let your shoulders soften. Hug your right heel and your left knee in towards each other to create a stable foundation. Inhale through your nose down into your belly and exhale back out through the nose. Hold for three to five breaths.
Exhale and place both hands down either side of right leg. Inhale to straighten your right leg and draw your right hip back in space. Flex your right foot. If your hands cannot reach the mat, place blocks or books underneath your hands to give yourself more height.
Inhale and lengthen your heart forward towards your toes to keep your spine long and exhale to fold forward over your right leg. Hold for three to five breaths.
Bring both hands to the inside of your right foot. Walk your right foot to the right, and spin it out on a 45 degree angle. Inhale to lengthen spine long and exhale to hold, or if you have more rang of motion, lower both forearms to the ground.
Hold for three to five breaths. Keep your spine long - if it is difficult to get your hands to the ground, those blocks or books from half hanumanasana will help you here.
Bring your right foot back to the centre of the mat and place both hands either side of your right foot. Keep your left hand down and inhale to reach your right arm up to the sky.
Option to tuck left toes and lift your left knee off mat for a deeper twist. Hold for three to five breaths.
Exhale, bring both hands to the inside of your right foot and pivot around to face the long side of your mat. Spin your right foot forward so both feet are parallel to the outer edges of the mat.
Inhale to lengthen spine long and exhale to forward fold. Bend knees if needed and relax your head and neck to create traction and lengthen out the spine. Hold for three to five breaths.
Repeat left hand side
From prasarita, inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale spin your left foot to the left so you face the back of your mat. Lower your right knee to the mat and inhale to reach both arms up to the sky for anjaneyasana.
Now repeat the sequence on the left side of your body.
Use this sequence to keep your muscles pliable and help reduce your risk of injury in sports and everyday life. Practice with this in mind. Don't worry about going to your maximum. You've done enough already in your sports, now it's time to unwind body and mind.