This is for all you jocks out there — you guys need yoga, too, just as much as the rest of us! If you’re an athlete you probably 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! They should take a cue from the NFL players who use yoga .
The three major areas I hear the most complaints about from my jock friends are: hamstrings, quads, and shoulders.
Here’s a short sequence from iYogaLife.com to get you started digging into those big muscle groups. We’ll start slow. The most ‘on a solo mission here, you’re only competing with yourself. Come on, guys, you know it’s great for you!
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:
4. Bring both hands to the floor and straighten your front leg, square off your hips and hang your torso over your front leg keeping the quads pulled up. Hold for a few breaths.