Yoga For Jocks

By Tara Stiles

This is for all you jocks out there—you guys and gals need yoga, too,
just as much as the rest of us! If you're an athlete you probably
already know that yoga can improve performance by enhancing your focus, breathing, and endurance. Not to mention alleviating soreness and reducing recovery time.

Friends of mine who were high school and college football players, soccer players, runners, cyclists—you name it—now have problems with their bodies. A lot of them can't touch their toes anymore! Now this is a problem that we have to fix. Otherwise, the three major areas I hear the most complaints about from my jock friends are: hamstrings, quads, and shoulders. Here’s a short sequence to get you started digging into those big muscle groups. We'll start slow. The most important thing to remember is yoga isn't a competitive sport! You will be challenged, but you’re on a solo mission here, you’re only competing with yourself. Come on guys, you know it's great for you!

 The Sequence
1. Start standing with your feet shoulder distance apart.  Create a slight bend in the knees. Reach your arms up high and fold over your legs. (You’ll feel this in the hammies.)  Grab your elbows to relieve some tension in your neck and shoulders, or take hold of the outside of your calves to help fold yourself toward your legs. Breathe into this forward bend for five breaths. Now, reach your arms back up and fold over your legs again. Repeat this three times.
Other options for the arms: You can try grabbing the back your neck with your hands and pulling the crown of your head straight down to the floor. Or: Interlace the hands behind the back and work the arms over your head
for a nice shoulder stretch.
2. Step your left leg back into a Runners Lunge, bringing that back knee down and then placing both your hands on your right knee. If you want more of a
Challenge, you can bend your back foot up and pull it toward your body for a nice quad stretch.
3. Stand up with your legs in Warrior 1—spread wide apart with the front leg bent, foot facing straight ahead and the back leg straight, foot at a 45-degree angle—and interlace your hands behind your back. Now lean forward and bring your torso to the inside of your front leg. Extend your arms over your head to open the shoulders. Hold for a few breaths and then:


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