Yoga for Triathletes
Cindy Haines, M.D. | March 18, 2014
Whether you are training for your first sprint triathlon or you are headed for Kona, yoga can help you achieve your goals and increase your odds of remaining injury-free. In and of itself, the cross-training of the “triathlete life” is a good thing, but too much of any good thing can be…well…bad. Here are five yoga poses to consider in the quest for better times and fewer injuries in your beloved triathlons.
Pigeon stretches the glutes, upper hamstrings, hip flexors and piriformis - all key components to your life as a runner. Pigeon can be a great hip opener done as a forward fold, or, it can be done in a reclined position: crossing right ankle above left knee, reaching arms around the left leg to pull the thigh or shin in toward the chest as the right elbow presses the right knee away. Repeat other side.
Cyclists know that core strength is key. Boat pose is excellent for core-and spine-strengthening. Beginning in a seated position, knees bent, soles of feet on ground, hands behind thighs–float calves parallel with the ground and draw heart forward, shoulders back. Option to reach arms out or straighten legs, toes pointed or flexed. Options to hold, slowly lower down to ground, or release and repeat.
Shoulders in good working order are important to everyone, especially swimmers. Chest and shoulder openers help relieve tension on the supporting structures, such as the rotator cuff. Camel begins in a kneeling posture, hands to lower back. Squeeze elbows toward one another as you press hips forward and lift through your heart. For more, turn gaze up and back with option to reach for each ankle.
Bound angle pose
Swimming, running, and cycling can each place wear and tear on the pelvis. All three together can triple the risk of injury. Bound angle pose is an inner thigh stretch and gentle hip opener that begins in a seated pose, soles of feet connected, knees reaching toward the ground. Crown can reach toward the sky or you can enjoy this pose on your back (reclined bound angle pose).
Never underestimate the power of rest in your quest to become stronger and faster. Savasana, often referred to as the final resting pose, is the posture that usually completes the practice. This pose helps the body relax, muscles unwind, bones rest heavy into the earth. It helps integrate all other poses, postures, and practices into the body, so that your hard work fully pays off. Now: It’s go time!