Calling all runners and athletes. Find out how yoga can help you recover quicker, perform better and get the most out of every sporting moment.
Clive Fogelman writes:
After playing a range of sports for several years until my early 20’s, two things became very noticeable
- I was getting injured more regularly.
- My body was taking longer to recover in between physical activity.
Someone recommended I try yoga suggesting that I would benefit from a more comprehensive stretching routine as well as increasing my body awareness. While I found it very challenging to start with, I gradually started to experience many benefits from yoga as an athlete and as a person as a whole. These are just some of them:
It wasn’t until I started yoga that I truly realised how tight I was. With yoga I have experienced the benefits of both dynamic and static stretching which can be of great support before and after athletic performance. My body has become much more flexible over the years and I am able to understand how to release tightness from different parts of my body. Consequently, I have experienced more ease of movement, developed a greater range of motion and experienced fewer injuries.
As I started to practise yoga, I realised that it could also be used to develop my strength in a different way, particularly to engage with muscles which were perhaps under-utilized in my other athletic disciplines.
By working with my own body weight, some of the postures and movements really helped to enhance my core body stability and strengthen under-developed muscles, leading to a more balanced and optimally functional overall strength.
Balance & Coordination:
My coordination and balance improved significantly the more I practised yoga.
In other sports this made me feel more agile, honed technique and refined form. Over time, I felt more in control of my body and more responsive in different situations. Yoga poses can generate a more subtle awareness of the body’s centre of gravity in different positions and how the body functions as a unit to balance. Practising poses and movements from different positions also helps me to cultivate a deeper sense of my body in relation to space.
As I started to connect with the uniqueness of my own body, yoga taught me how to become more aware of posture and to identify subtle bodily sensations and changes in energy.
With this, I began to understand how I could adapt my sporting activity to get the most out of it in the moment. As a result, I have developed a clearer understanding of when it feels good to push and challenge myself but also when to take a step back and shift to a softer and more effortless approach realising both have much to offer at different times.
Focus & Breath:
Learning how to use my breath in different ways and create a deep connection between breath and movement has also been really supportive.
My breathing has become deeper and more controlled which has improved my stamina for endurance activities and shorter, more intense workouts. The meditative aspect of concentrating on my breath also makes me feel more focused during sport. It helps to keep me alert and facilitates a state of flow where I feel my whole body is functioning in sync.
Rest & Renewal:
Over the years, I have also greatly benefitted from restorative and yin yoga
Restorative and yin poses are often held for several minutes with relaxed musculature to encourage fascia (connective tissue), surrounding bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, to ease and open.
This facilitates a deep release in tight areas of the body, expands flexibility and aids healing. With its focus on replenishment and renewal, this style of yoga really compliments sporting activity. Significantly, it also offers an opportunity to relax deeply, cultivate a profound sense of inner calm and maintain life balance.
This post was written by yoga and meditation teacher, Clive Fogelman. Clive has a creative an open-minded approach to teaching yoga, influenced by his psychotherapeutic and sporting background. He enjoys helping people to cultivate intuition within their bodies, mindful that all individuals are different and continually evolving.