Part 1: Yoga for Swimming

The Sports Ashram was founded in 2018 by Jack Maitland and Kirsten Steffensen. It is a triathlon coaching business using yoga to help athletes develop and perform to their highest potential. Collectively, Jack and Kirsten offer tuition via Yoga Videos, Triathlon Coaching and Yoga Teaching for all age-groupers and Olympians. As friends of Yonda, Mr Yonda (Angus) asked The Sports Ashram to compile a blog to share the benefits of yoga to our audience. Here's what they had to say... Jack Maitland Ashram Hello, I'm Jack. I coached the swim programme for the elite athletes at the Leeds Triathlon Centre for 13 years. More recently I’ve been working with adult age-group triathletes and have noticed that in comparison their swimming technique is more likely to be impacted by a lack of swim specific mobility and strength.         I have found that there are a number of reasons for this including:
  • Some elite triathletes swam a lot when they were younger and have therefore preferentially retained the range of movement needed for an efficient stroke in the water.
  • Adults have bodies that have moulded to the typical demands of daily life and may also have adapted to the needs of other sporting activities such as running.
  • Elite athletes may follow a personalised exercise routine directed by physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, their triathlon coach or other experts.

Three major issues that I have observed:

  1. Poor body positioning in the water - hips sinking and legs dragging, over lifting the head to breathe.
  2. Ineffective kick - creates drag rather than adding propulsion
  3. Late catch - unable to position arms comfortably to get hold of the water at the front of the stroke
The good news is, all of these issues can be addressed by improvements in mobility and strength. If you’re experiencing a plateau in your swim performance where your times are not improving despite continued training then you need to make a change. One way of making that change could be adding some regular yoga to your schedule. I personally discovered that after practicing yoga more seriously in my 40s I was able to significantly improve both my flexibility and my strength. This motivated me to start incorporating yoga into the routines of athletes that I worked with. Over time Kirsten and I established TheSportsAshram.com to provide suitable yoga for triathletes, swimmers, and other athletes. We’ve hand-picked traditional yoga postures and techniques that are relevant to athletes. From our experience of teaching them for over 10 years, we have made the sequences accessible and relevant. Local athletes that have attended one of our weekly one hour long classes have responded well and seen noticeable improvements in their mobility and strength. This in turn has improved their posture leading to noticeable progress in the pool.  

We would like to share some of these practices and techniques with Yonda's audience of athletes and triathletes. In Part 2 of this blog we’ll present a number of specific yoga postures that you can try out for yourself. Keep following social media to find out when this is live!

Best regards, Jack Maitland

Back to blog