Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yoga For Athletes, Hawaiian Style...

Yoga can be...intimidating, boring, painful, to name a few of my previous opinions on it. However, my mind has changed. Now it's challenging, helps me recover from hours of swimbikerun, and it's fun (when given the right crew and location). I recruited one of the Big Islands best Yoga instructors and one of my favorite swim partners to bring you 10 moves that will help you recover, unwind, and strengthen your swimbikerun body :)


All of these can be done at home on your own or with a friend. We tried to give you a couple variations of each so you can use the one that fits your flexibility now. As you gain flexibility the more challenging variation will continue to help your broken down and beat up tri-body get the most out of your recovery.


2 For The Swim:
Seated prayer twist: Works rotation of torso, massages internal organs, and opens chest & shoulders. Variation one (Wendy on the right), hands at heart center, focus on palms together and open elbows, breathe into rotation. Variation 2 (on the left) arms expanded, opens a little deeper-you may get a little help with this :)

Shoulder Stretch: To help release your back, lats, shoulders try this. Sit straight up with your knees bent, using a broom (or bamboo stick), slowly reach behind you as far as you can. After miles of swimming each week my back was so tight, notice how far apart my arms are (first photo). Brooke (on the right) has got the flexibility down in her back/lats, that will eventually lead to a greater reach, stronger pull in the swim. Tip: Start hands wider, less pressure on shoulders.


2 For The Bike:

Eagle Pose: Working your balance, helping stretch out your IT Bands, strengthening your quads, stability in your hips (cyclists need this), and of course a little core to help your back on those long rides. Left to right shows 3 variations depending on your skills. The idea is to squat, cross a single leg over at a time, hold your balance, and bring your arms/shoulders into center (helps to stretch out your arms after hours of riding in the aero bars). Hold for 30 seconds (or as long as you can) then switch legs and arms (if you had your arms wrapped up).

Seated Forward Fold: A simple stretch for the lower back and hamstrings. The 3 variations for your ability in this pose are:

  1. To sit on a lava rock (or bottom of stairs, a tiny seat, or a small pile of books). Wendy (right) is demonstrating how it takes the pressure off while reaching for your toes if you lack flexibility.

  2. (left) I'm on a shorter rock and have my legs straight out without knees bent. Rolling up a towel to sit on can give you that tiny bit of pressure release too.

  3. Brooke (middle) is sitting flat, straight legs, and face between the calves (this is a big goal for a lot of cyclists wanting a good reach in the bars without back discomfort and a little less strain in the legs.
2 For The Run:

Runners Lunge: (left) Variation of a low lunge, psoas stretch. (knee on ground). On the right, high lunge, more of a strengthening pose. Tip: Keep torso center and equal weight in both legs.

Supine Hero: Stretches quads & around the knee to tops of feet. Lengthens frontal and back body. Variations, if you struggle to get both knees bent its okay to keep one leg straight out front and one bent. Begin seated up right (left) and work your way down (right).

Camel Pose: Flexibility to your spine and adding longevity to your life. Since we spend a lot of time hunched over on the bike and rounded forward on the swim, this pose can help create back flexibility and frontal stretch. It also opens the chest, allowing more room for the heart to beat. (better for breathing-think speed work). Variations, begin simple, and lower hands down as you go. Front (hands to lower back). Middle (hands on rocks or a block). Back (reach for your feet).

2 For Relaxation & Release

Child's Pose: A simple way to relax overall body. 3 variations shown above...

Seated Posture: From more difficult to easier. Full Lotus (hands at heart center and both legs crossed feet to opposite hips). Half Lotus (single leg on top and arms relaxed at knees). Indian Style (hands to side for support of the back).
Legs Up The Tree (Up the Wall). The easiest recovery pose in the universe. Helps reduce lactic acid and you can do it ANYWHERE, even airports :)

...and that is Yoga Hawaiian Style. Have some fun mixing up your swimbikerun recovery/strength workouts.




sharon said...

Beautiful - healing...I'm with you. Yoga, Youth and Green Co-co's!

Daph said...

Love the variations and I plan to try them in the near future

Mikey Mike and his Funky Bunch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Russell said...

I love it -- great post. Not sure we should expect anything less from you, but great work regardless.

wiley said...

Yay!Speaking my language now Bree. Thanks for promoting yoga for athletes. A caution coming out of camel for those who have back issues. Sometimes I will raise my arms one at a time straight up in the air to help slowly roll back up from the back bend and I am pretty flexible. For those that are not it can strain the back and if you raise quickly can sometimes make you dizzy.

Lucy Francis said...

oh! I've never been sure about yoga. some of the poses seem too extreme and go against what I've learned about stretching. I have to confess that I've never tried it though. Beautiful shots! you should write a book with recipes, yoga and other nuggets for relaxation, Hawaiian style.


Looks nice....on you.
If I did that I would be in the hospital..

Beth said...

Thanks for the tips Bree!! Some of those poses look soooo inviting to stretch out the arms and legs! I will give them a try!

And Miles 2 Go said...

These are marvelous, Bree. Thanks for sharing all the diff versions. Ultra stiff ultrarunner me just started a yoga class. Very positive results in only two classes, along with a buncha my own practice. Stuff is addictive.

p.s. LOVE the lava "blocks." :)

NJ said...

Love the moves your sister uses...I use most of these in my classes. May have to add Supine Hero as I've never cued that before. Awesome post!

Heidi Austin said...

oh how i miss beach yoga... your sister is rockstar :) i think yoga is such an integral part of our training...

Dawn said...

Such a neat post! Looks like you are always having fun, so great! I am a huge pilates fan... might have to try yoga sometime. :)

SMH said...

exquisite timing. I was just telling Coach Jimmy I planned to stretch everyday as a goal and BOOYAH, a perfect little yoga routine popped right up. thanks!

Jamie said...

Great pose tips Bree. I'm not gunna lie, I'm surprised that your sister got you to stay in one spot long enough to hold a pose and take a picture! :-)