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What *IS* Yoga for Athletes?

By Kristy West

WED JAN 06, 2021

Yoga for Athletes is a growing trend. And for good reason (we'll get to that later). But what does that really mean?

If you do a Google search for "yoga for athletes" you tend to get a lot of stock photos of fit people doing yoga poses, or articles and pdfs about the 10 best yoga poses for athletes.

Those results are not a true representation of what a Yoga for Athletes (Y4A) class really is.

Let's start by saying that Y4A classes are NOT just for professional athletes. They are for ANYONE who is active. If you choose fitness or exercise for fun or health benefits, you should be taking these classes on a regular basis! Would you be more willing to take a class if it was called Yoga for Fitness Enthusiasts or Exercisers? It serves the same people, regardless of the title.

Yoga for Athletes is also not Athletic Yoga or Power Yoga. It is a class designed to bring balance to a training cycle or schedule. It is an active recovery, cross-training, and slower paced class designed to offer deep stretch and improved mobility. When you give your body time to reset, it reduces injury, increases load capacity (ie, lift heavier), and leads to being active longer in life.

Tiffany Cruikshank, owner of Yoga Medicine, said in an article for Wanderlust.com that yoga for athletes is "really helpful for athletes, who already tend to be really competitive, to be surrounded by others who are also tight so that they don't compare themselves to the bendy 'yoga girl' next to them...(they) need that constant reminder that they aren't there to be the best at yoga but use yoga as a tool to help them be better at their sport and their health to support that."

Well that sounds less intimidating, doesn't it? I think so.

When you come to my class, the first thing I ask the students is what they want to work on that day. Most times, it is a request for stretching out the low back, releasing tension in the hips, and working out the shoulders (typical for runners/walkers/cyclists for example). Sometimes I get requests to incorporate core work. My point is that I do not have a pre-determined sequence of poses/stretches for class, I make it up as we go to give each student the most benefit on that day. If you're taking class with me live, I am watching your movements and facials expressions so that I can offer adjustments or modifications to better serve you. If you catch the recorded version of class, you'll hear me comment about how to make your own adjustments for a better experience - and a good experience makes a huge difference!

I hear, a lot, from athletes that they don't like yoga, usually because they went too hard or tried to push themselves too far in the past when taking a more traditional class. I am here to change that mentality! I want athletes to make my class AS IMPORTANT to their schedule as any other part of their training. That is accomplished by LISTENING to their needs, offering different poses to help minimize overstretching, and having experienced the same injuries/discomforts that are typical in active lifestyles. I know, I have been there - I have had a bad back since I was 7 years old.

What are you waiting for?

Join me for Yoga for Athletes on Sundays at 10am Central. Class is offered live via Zoom and you'll get the digital copy to keep. Each class is different in terms of what poses we do, but you can always expect lots of options, encouragement, and a sense of community.

Sign up at yogareimagined.com. Class is just $10/person.