Swimming, biking and running for short or long distances requires a tremendous amount of strength, endurance and mental stamina. While a triathlon-specific training regime is necessary in developing staying power, a yoga program will also physically and mentally help take you to the finish line.
Power for the Swim
Stretching is definitely crucial to counter balance the muscle tightening actions of triathlon training, however stretching against a light resistance (as in yoga) will not only lengthen your muscles, it will improve the contractibility of your muscle fibers. This means your muscles will have the range of motion and power required to propel your body through the water. Practice the following stretch for up to one minute, five times a day.
The core of a person can be defined in many ways. In the physical sense, the core consists of the muscle groups between the hips and the ribs. In a psychological sense, the core makes up the deep inner-self some might call the soul. In an energetic sense, the core is what makes up the solar plexus, a place in our body that is home to bundles of nerves responsible for those curious gut feelings. Yogis often refer to the solar plexus as the third chakra, the spirited space in our body that governs our self-esteem and feelings of empowerment.
However you view your core, a regular yoga practice has a strong and powerful effect on it. Whether physical, psychological or energetic, your core will be particularly influenced, and the following is a look into why.
If you haven’t tried yoga because the thought of chanting praises to an unfamiliar deity after Sunday morning mass makes you cringe, fear not. Christian Yoga is making its way across the country and throughout the world as an alternative yoga practice for those who would rather say Amen than Namaste.
Even though yoga is not a religion, many Americans may still be reluctant to try yoga for the first time due to their strong devotion to the Christian faith. DeAnna Smothers and Courtney Chalfant, a mother and daughter team from Chandler, Arizona founded Yahweh Yoga in 2005 for that very reason.
Yahweh Yoga is a Christ-centered practice and is designed to give people the opportunity to feel comfortable deepening their relationship with God, while gaining all of the other health benefits of yoga.
Whether you are a high-powered executive or a stay-at-home mom, some afternoons inevitably make you feel like crawling back into bed. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee to remedy your post-lunch sleepiness, how about reaching for your yoga mat? Practicing yoga on a sluggish afternoon can revitalize you.
Mountain Pose to Energize
Remove your shoes and stand up as straight and as tall as you can. Reach both arms overhead and stretch vigorously from your feet to your fingertips. Hold for 20 seconds, and for the last five seconds lift your heels up to balance on your toes. Immediately feel light and vibrant.
Standing Twist to Invigorate
Cross your right foot over your left and place it to the outside of your left foot. Stand equally on both feet with your ankles crossed. Straighten both arms directly out to the side. Begin to reach your left arm forward and your right arm back, twisting from the hips. Turn your head and look out over your right arm. Hold for five deep breaths and then switch sides. Notice an energizing tingle through your spine.
Standing for eight hours while hovering over a counter with a butcher knife in one hand and a sauté pan in the other can put the kibosh on the kebobs.
Chefs, prep cooks and other kitchen workers will find the following yoga poses helpful in maintaining vitality so their energy doesn’t sink like a tired soufflé.
Poses to Practice in the Kitchen
For a tight lower back, place both hands shoulder width apart on the edge of a clean and solid counter. Step back about a leg length in distance from the counter and fold forward from your hips so that your spine is parallel to the floor with both arms straight. Hold this stretch for up to one minute while breathing deeply. Repeat as often as you can throughout your work shift.
There is nothing worse than spending the rest of your glorious ski vacation in bed because your legs are too sore to do anything else. You want to keep skiing, to do a little shopping or go out dancing after a day on the slopes, but that is just not going to happen if you are out of shape. The black diamond advanced moguls, blue intermediate groomed runs or green beginner bunny slopes will get the best of you if you do not prepare ahead of time.
Whether you are a hot shot on the hill or you just want to look hot in your brand new ski outfit, the following yoga pose and its equivalent rating of intensity will help keep you on your feet.
I see it quite often. Women drag their reluctant husbands to yoga only to find them wilting in a puddle of sweat. At the end of class, while the women glow and prance nimbly out of the studio, the men, hobbling to the door, are left feeling defeated.
Men are typically so much stronger than women, yet some struggle gravely in yoga. So why is this?
Flexibility vs. Strength
While men might be stronger overall, women tend to be more flexible. Many yoga poses require less brawn and more give to finesse. Often, men are programmed to muscle through physical challenges, relying on rote strength and manliness to get the job done. In yoga, women take the path of least resistance, using their litheness as an advantage.
When the bones of the body are correctly aligned in a yoga pose, little effort is needed to maintain the pose. However, bones can only be aligned properly if the muscles surrounding them are limber enough to permit it. Tight muscles tend to pull bones out of alignment, therefore causing one to use more energy to hold the pose for an extended amount of time. And since yoga poses are often held for durations of up to three minutes, wasting energy due to improper alignment can sap anyone’s strength in a hurry.
Menopause occurs in women sometime after the age of 40. It is defined as the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and can be highly symptomatic. Symptoms vary in intensity and duration and can last for years. The most common symptoms are hot flashes, anxiety and loss in sex drive. Other symptoms include incontinence, digestive problems and bone loss.
Since menopause is a natural biological process, not a disease, holistic measures prove to be helpful in relieving the symptoms. The following is a list of specific yoga poses that can help when the symptoms of menopause are bringing you down.
Child’s Pose for Hot Flashes
Hot Flashes are the result of abrupt changes in your body’s ability to regulate temperature and can be triggered by stress. Calming down equals cooling down. Spend up to three minutes in this pose, inhaling through your mouth (cooling the air as it comes in) and exhaling through your nose, to relax your body completely.
Toxins come in many forms from harsh and deadly organisms such as snake venom, to man-made environmental agents like asbestos. While some toxins are fatal, others simply serve to cause mild annoyances like headaches, nausea or irritability.
To detox with yoga is to assist our bodies in the removal of non-life-threatening toxins such as those absorbed from eating chemical laden junk food, drinking alcohol or being exposed to smog and other types of air pollution. From the sounds of this, you may realize toxins are an often-unavoidable part of life, but thankfully our bodies are equipped to deal with them, and yoga can help.
The liver is the main organ responsible for filtering the blood for the processing and removal of toxins. When your liver is healthy, toxins are more readily released from your body in the form of sweat, urine and excrement, through the liver’s metabolic functions.
If going on a vacation or traveling for work has one major drawback, it’s getting out of the healthy fitness habits we have worked so hard to maintain while at home. Nothing beats taking a trip to the beach or visiting a new city, but by the third day our bodies begin to feel like they have been left behind, neglected, and ultimately not part of the fun.
Being in a different environment, sitting or standing more than usual, wearing brand new work shoes or cheap vacation flip flops can all increase muscular stress on our bodies, especially if we’ve ditched the exercise routine. It is no wonder we often feel as if we need a vacation after a vacation; our bodies are stiff, tired and worn out from skipping our workouts.
Whether you practice yoga regularly or have yet to try it, these pose suggestions will help you at least save your lower back, hips and attitude from going south while you are away from the comforts of a healthy routine at home.