As Jack Maitland and Kirsten Steffensen discussed in Part 1 of this blog, we’ve selected five simple but effective yoga postures that can help you become a better swimmer.
Posture 1: Sitting on your heels
With the top of your feet on the floor, feet and knees as close together as you can, sit down on your heels while keeping your body upright. If needed place a folded blanket between your hips and heels. Stay in the pose and breathe slowly for a minute. Benefits: Stretching the tops of the feet in order to improve your kick.
Posture 2: Low lunge
From a kneeling position bring one foot forward into a lunge. Adjust the distance between your front foot and back knee in order to feel a stretch in the hip flexors.
If this is painful in your back knee then put some extra padding under it.
Place hands on your front knee and straighten arms as much as possible so that your torso is more upright. Stay in the pose, relax and breathe for a minute, then repeat on the other side. Benefits: Stretches out the front of the hip to help you maintain a better position in the water.
Posture 3: Locust
Lie on your stomach. Bring feet and legs all the way together. Interlace your hands behind you, stretch your fist towards your heels and lift everything off the ground. Look slightly down to the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine. Take 5 deep breaths in the pose, then relax. Repeat two more times. Benefits: Strengthens the back body for improved position and power.
Posture 4: Puppy-dog
From kneeling, place one forearm parallel to the short edge of the mat, then stretch the other arm out in front of you with the plan on the floor. Keeping your hips directly above your knees, rest your forehead on the bent arm and allow the chest to sink towards the floor. Stay in the pose, relax and breathe for a minute, then repeat on the other side. Benefits: Opens the side-body, upper back and shoulders to help you achieve optimal positioning of the arm at the front of the stroke
Posture 5: Spinal Twist
Lie on your back. Take one knee across your body at about navel height so that it touches the floor. You can use your hand to keep it there. Then twist your torso away from the knee and reach the opposite arm out to the side. Look to the ceiling to keep the neck relaxed. Stay in the pose, relax and breath slowly for a minute, then repeat on the other side. Benefits: Moves the spine in a way which helps with the rotation needed for an effective stroke.
These are postures that The Sports Ashram often include in yoga classes aimed at swimmers and triathletes. A class will be structured with the poses in a specific order. This will include repeated work on component parts to compound the benefits of the practice.