Yoga For EVERY Athlete

Well, I am a little bit put off by the fact that Rich Roll just wrote about the exact topic that I was going to write about this week on my blog. However, since he was an Olympic athlete and he further validates my philosophy, I am very pleased to share his article with you.

My Yoga- Athlete Paradigm

I have phased in and out of yoga since I was 16 years old. Sometimes I am super into it and sometimes I can’t convince myself to make time for it. Every time I return to my yoga practice, I gain more insight as to how yoga has the power to make me a better person. I can always apply what I learn in class to my everyday life.

Some athletes would rather spend more time training than spending time on yoga. In reality, taking the time to incorporate yoga into your workout regimen actually improves your capabilities when you are training. Yoga not only increases the flexibility of your muscles, it also increases the flexibility of your mental capacity. The more control you have over your mental state, the more you are capable of achieving.

It takes some time to find the kind of yoga that suites you. Since there are so many different types of yoga and so many different teaching styles, you have to be open to a little bit of experimentation. Some classes are more spiritually challenging while others are more physically challenging. I really like to have a balance of these two elements. I like to walk out of yoga feeling like I got a  workout both mentally and physically. Other athletes really need the restorative yoga to counteract the intensity in their workouts.

No matter what type of yoga you choose, you can be sure that your athletic performance will benefit.



Walking For Exercise

Are you the type of person that doesn’t enjoy running? Do you have an injury that prevents you from running? If so, walking is a low-impact activity that can help you stay in shape.

Walking for 30-minutes each day is nourishing for both the mind and body. The fresh air that you breathe while walking outside helps to slow down your mind. Slowing down your mind allows you to step out of thinking mode and into feeling mode. Our minds are constantly racing with thousands of different thoughts. When we allow it to slow down, we take time to listen to our true desires.

When I first started walking for exercise, I thought it was boring. After a few adjustments, I began to see that walking can be great exercise and it is very enjoyable. If you want to turn your daily stroll into a walking workout, here is how you can do it:

  • Create Goals. Creating goals is crucial for success. Set goals to increase your distance or increase your speed. Ex. Maybe when you started walking you would walk for 30 minutes at a slow-ish pace. Next walk, try to walk the same distance in less time. Once you accomplish that try to walk for 35 minutes.
  • Start with a good warm-up.  Get your heart rate up and your blood flowing
  • Pump your arms while you walk. This generates more energy and keeps the blood flowing through your chest and upper-body more efficiently. You will be able to walk faster because of opposing forces (opposite arm & leg). Plus you will burn more calories this way.
  • Interval training. Interval training is all about increasing your heart rate for short periods of time. This method helps you walk at a faster pace but allows you to rest along the way. See Interval Training for more details.
  • Hills & Stairs. Treat these areas as a challenge. Instead of walking up the steps, pick up the pace a little bit. Maybe even challenge yourself to do the stairs or walk up the hill 2 times. Try to pick a trail that has at least 1 set of stairs or 1 hill.
  • Walking Partner. Walking with other people who have the same intention as you can be very motivating. Make sure that you pick a walking partner that will walk at the same pace or faster than you. You don’t want someone to slow you down. Have a walking partner a few days a week helps keep consistency because you hold each other accountable.

Do you have any tips or tricks to make walking more of a workout? Please share!


Integrating Movement Into Your Day

Most jobs require us to work in a seated positions. When we are not at work, we also sit in the car and the couch… now that’s a lot of sitting. Humans are not designed to live such a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies are designed to move through out the day. In previous generations, people were physically active in their work. They did not have to spend time in the gym or designate time to exercise to stay healthy.

Since this is no longer the case, I encourage you to incorporate movement throughout your day as much as possible. Some suggestions are to:

  • do a few jumping jacks to get warmed up for your day
  • park further away from the grocery store
  • walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • take mini breaks to stand up and walk around while you are at work
  • if you are waiting for food in the oven, do some squats or lunges
  • during commercial breaks do a set of abdominal or push-up exercises
  • take a 30 minute walk after you eat dinner