The extensive benefits of yoga are well publicised in modern media, and it has become a firm mainstay of Western culture. However for those who have never practiced yoga before, highly effectively poses that are particularly beneficial to the needs of athletes are easily accessible, and can make an effective additional to a post-training muscle-recovery protocol.
Yoga postures (asanas, to give the proper term) can be used like a personal toolkit, effectively targeting specific muscle groups. The muscle-stretching and lengthening benefits of yoga are particularly relevant as a post-training protocol, as muscle contraction and tightness can result in discomfort and increase the risk of injury.
Here is a simple yoga posture to target muscle tightness in the lower body and major leg muscles, providing excellent post-training recovery benefits in a matter of minutes.
Areas targeted: Shoulders, deltoids, lats, pectorals, hips, core, groin and thighs.
Warrior One pose (or veerabhadrasana) is excellent for relieving shoulder and upper back tension – and is particularly useful for those suffering from frozen shoulder. Providing thoracic extension paired with shoulder and hip flexion, Warrior One is excellent for improving balance and overall mobility.
It is also excellent for improving mobility and flexibility in the hip flexors and groin, so would be an excellent addition to any training plan for those experiencing weakness or strain in these areas.
Stand straight with your legs wide apart by a distance of at least 4 feet. Those with higher flexibility can adjust their stance accordingly to destabilise the movement if a higher intensity is sought. Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by about 15 degrees, ensuring the heels of the right foot is aligned to the centre of the left foot. Next raise both arms sideways to shoulder height, parallel to the ground, with your palms facing upwards.
Bend your right knee, with your right knee and right ankle forming a straight line. In this position, extend your arms further, and gently push your pelvis down to stabilize the movement. Hold the posture with an emphasis on maintaining straight arms and a strong upper body posture and straight spine. Hold the posture for as long as is comfortable. Breathing in, come upright and lower your hands down from the sides. Repeat the yoga posture for the left side.