Due to the increasing awareness nowadays, and the quest for better performance, many athletes have included yoga in their daily routines.
Not only is it the best way to achieve mental peace but it also strengthens your muscles. Many different sports are now including yoga in their training sessions, and swimming is one of them!
The most common obstacles faced in swimming are related to your breathing, speed, and alignment; and yoga has a solution for all of these!
Health and fitness benefits of yoga for Athletes
The benefits of yoga are not just restricted to one area of concern, but actually, help provide a holistic improvement. Yoga caters to nearly all the problems we face nowadays, be it from chronic back pain or even severe heart disease! Let’s go through a few health and fitness benefits of yoga;
This is the most significant advantage of yoga and often the main reason why people start it. All your muscles are toned while doing yoga which helps in making you more flexible and improving your posture.
This is an added advantage which most people were not expecting. Yoga strengthens your muscle tone and especially the core muscles. In the long run, these strong core muscles help you with back pain and other age-related problems.
- Stronger Bones
Using your body weight, you put pressure on the bones which grow stronger.
- Keeps the calcium levels under control
Yoga brings peace to mind, helps you meditate, thus decreasing the level stress hormone. This results in less calcium requirement in the body and so the calcium can stay in the bones.
- Increases blood flow
Yoga increases your blood flow throughout the body. Also, it improves the lymphatics making your immune stronger than ever.
Specific benefits Of Yoga for swimmers
Like other athletes now swimmers are also incorporating yoga in their supplementary training for the following reasons;
- The mobility of Core Muscles.
Swimmers are prone to get stiff shoulder, chest, hip flexor and quad muscles. However, for better performance and prevention of injury, the mobility of these muscles is very crucial.
- Balance and Alignment.
Due to the nature of activity swimmers usually overdevelop their shoulder, chest and front end muscles and weak back muscles. Which may not only lead to hunch but also other injuries due to the wrong posture.
- Improves stamina
Long duration of holding your breath and maintaining the exercise posture increases your stamina.
Yoga is proven to increase concentration, coordination and reaction time.
- Muscle strength
As mentioned above, the muscles become stronger, giving you more powerful strokes!
Based on our research here are best yoga poses for swimmers.
01. Downward Dog Pose.
Benefits: Provide a great stretch to the entire backside, open the shoulders to get a better range of motion. Enhance shoulder and forearm strength while lengthening calf and hamstring muscles. Excellent pose for maintaining a proper running posture in long runs. Moreover, increase blood flow towards brain which decreases stress and enhances productivity.
Tips: Watch out for any hyper-extension of elbows and knees. If you feel too much pressure on your shoulders, shorten the distance between your hands and feet, or allow your knees to bend until you feel an even stretch throughout your entire back. If your hamstrings are tight and your spine is rounding, bend both knees slightly and tip your pelvis so that the tailbone reaches upward. Focus on a long spine by pressing into your palms and lifting your hips.
02. Upward Dog Pose.
Benefits: A great pose to challenge you for lifting and opening your chest. Which results in improving our posture and enhancing lung capacity. Also strengthen the spine, arms wrists and shoulder muscles for visible improvisation in athletic performance.
Tips: If you are feeling too much pressure in your hand, shift your weight towards legs by elevating your hands on a yoga block or chair. If you are having difficulty in lifting your legs in the air, tuck your toes inside. Engage your abdominal muscles to release excessive pressure in the lower back.
03. Bird Dog Pose.
Benefits: An excellent pain reliever while improving your balance. Strengthen the spine and increase the range of motion in shoulders and hips. Great exercise for those who want to jump higher and swim faster.
Tips: Keep breathing and focus on your thighs and biceps muscles to keep your limbs lifted. Don’t look forward instead look down to avoid extra tension in the lower back.
04. Locust Pose.
Benefits: This pose strengthens lower back, legs and shoulder muscles while opening your chest. Stimulates your abdominal organs for better digestion and detoxification of the body. Locust pose helps to improve your posture and relief you from stress and fatigue caused by slouching forward.
Tips: Extend your body first before curving up. Avoid overstretching your neck for modification try to lift one leg and alternate arm and maintain the height.
05. High Lunge Pose.
Benefits: Increase stability and flexibility in hip flexors while also opening the front torso, chest, and shoulders. It strengthens and tones the thighs, hips, and butt. Develop endurance in your thighs while focusing on balance to improve your sprinting ability and strength in single leg squats or lunges.
Tips: Start with a closer stance if your back is arching (i.e., you feel pinching in your lower back). Keep hips even, facing forward. Ribs draw in towards one another to prevent puffing of the chest and arching of the back
06. Camel Pose.
Benefits: If done properly this pose starches almost all of the muscles in the body. While strengthening the spine, this pose also stimulates the abdominal organs which results in better digestion and metabolism. This pose also detoxifies the body, improve lung capacity and reduce abdominal fat.
Tips: Instead of reaching back with both hands, do the half-camel pose with one hand at a time. The arm that is not reaching back for the foot reaches up to the ceiling. In case of Knee tension, cushion the knees with a blanket.
07. Reclined Spine Twist.
Benefits: Lengthen and encourages the mobility of spine for twisting motions in various sports. Stretches shoulder, chest, back and hips muscles to relax and re-energize the body. Helps you relieve from stress and anxiety. Increase the blood flow to abdominal organs which results in detoxification of the body and toned waistline.
Tips: If your knees don’t touch the ground, don’t worry about it. Just focus on getting the gentle twisting stretch throughout your spine (especially lower back). The focus of this pose should not be on “cracking” your back. Focus on the stretch.
08. Bridge Pose.
Benefits: Stretches your spine, thighs and hip flexors to increase the range of motion. Strengthen your back to reduce chances of injury. This pose also improves digestion and metabolism as this pose also stimulates abdominal organs.
Tips: The weight of your body in this pose rests on the shoulders, not the neck. If there is too much pressure on lower back, try placing a yoga block beneath your tailbone. Keep your core engaged by flexing the abdominal muscles.
And if you are looking for some more yoga poses and further guidance do check out our ultimate yoga assessment guide. As it comes with every thing, a yoga practitioner needs when practicing solo.
You can check out our YOGA ASSESSMENT GUIDE™ by clicking here!
Thanks for staying till here.
Oh by the way for doing yoga you do need a mat as well. Check out our ultimate guide to choosing the best mat for yourself.
And for some heavy dose of yoga inspiration check this out.
Take good care of yourself and