5 GO-TO Yoga Poses Post Athletic Training

5 GO-TO Yoga Poses post athletic training, 

to increase mobility in thoracic spine and hips.

Yoga meets us where we are at; mentally, emotionally and physically.  Yoga is a science and art of connecting mind, body, and spirit.  The breath is a key element of yoga.  The breath needs to be allowed to flow freely and evenly.  This will be bringing us into and keeping us in a calm state of mind and body. 

Yoga is also a feeling practice.  As we move through the asanas (yoga postures), we feel into our body.  If we experience discomfort, we allow ourselves to soften into the discomfort with the use of the breath.  If we experience pain, we modify or stop the pose altogether. 

We practice below postures individually, or as a whole set, or even in addition to sun salutations or any other warm up movement. 

A short yoga practice often and consistently is better than inconsistently a lot and a long time.  Most of all, we enjoy what our body is capable of doing at any one time, and we have fun.

Head to Knee Pose – Janu Sirsasana A.

This is a deep forward bend from the hips, stimulating the digestive organs.  Both, the inside and the outside of the legs are stimulated and it is one of the more classical seated forward bends.

One leg straight and one leg bent, with breath and your bandhas (pelvic floor and lower belly muscles) engaged, bend forward from the hips.  Place your hands somewhere on your feet, alongside your lower leg, or hold your feet, or even bind.  Bend only as far forward as you can from your hips with a straight spine.  Avoid rounding forward.  This is an active pose, keep your straight leg engaged, and keep moving the heart & chest forward and the shoulders back and down.

Stay for 5-20 breaths, or longer.  Let your breath and your body guide you.  Enjoy and change sides.

Revolved Head to Knee Pose – Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana.

Can you feel the deliciousness of this pose? A wonderful lateral side bend and stretch for our quadratus lumborum, a deep postural muscle in our lower back.

Also, a chest opening pose and a beautiful stretch for the whole backline of the straight leg.

We set up as previous pose, bring our left forearm or hand (the arm or hand of the straight leg) along the inside of our left leg (the straight leg).  Sit up tall and twist your torso from the belly to your bend leg (the right in this case).  Then use your left arm as a lever working against your straight leg as you keep your chest open, and slowly bring your side body of the straight leg (here the left) sideways towards your straight leg.

Lastly bring your right arm overhead and either hold on to your left foot, or bend at the elbow, bring your hand behind your head for support and actively point the elbow toward the sky.  Keep breathing evenly; keep your bandhas engaged and your straight leg active.  This is an active position and you may only choose to hold it for a few breaths; or of course as long as it feels good.  Change sides and enjoy.

Bound Angle Pose against the Wall – Baddha Konasana.

We sit up against a wall and bring our whole back to the wall.

With knees bent and heels as close as possible towards our buttocks, we aim to open the soles of the feet like a book.  Inside of the feet open, outside edges of the feet push together.

The aim is to promote hip and ankle mobility and flexibility, as well as core strength.

We aim to sit up tall, inhale lengthen through the spine and exhale aiming to widen through the hips, by guiding the knees closer to the floor.

5-10 breaths or longer.  Time and comfort permitting.

Supported Bridge Pose with Block – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana with Block.

Lying down, we bend our knees and bring the soles of our feet to the floor.  At this stage, we can have our arms to the side of the body.

Lifting our hips off the floor, we bring the block underneath our sacrum, the lower triangle part of our back.  We place it where it feels good.  We let our body guide us. Then gradually we feel into letting one leg at the time straighten and totally relax.

This is an inactive pose.  Aiming to let go muscularly, arms can be to the side or even overhead.  This is a glorious backbend, opening the thoracic spine, as well as stimulating and stretching the hip flexor area.

Stay for as long as comfortable.  A few minutes will be excellent.  We observe our breath and our physical sensations.  We come out slowly and mindfully.  Firstly, we breathe a little deeper, bring the arms to the side, bend our knees.  Lift our hips off the block.  Bring the block out from underneath and slowly lower ourselves to the mat.  Stay in a mini savasana for a minute.  Noticing our physical sensations, as well as our emotions and our breath.

Windscreen Wipers.

Lying on the floor, we start to bend our knees and bring our feet to outside edges of the mat, knees pointing to the ceiling.

Arms can be to the side or overhead.  We start to bring both knees to one side on an exhale and bring them back to starting position on the inhale.  Exhale to the other side.  Repeat.

This beautiful spinal twist and hip mobilising posture can be practiced in a rhythmical way with the breath; or we can hold the shape on any one side for a few breaths to a few minutes.

Again, comfort and time permit the length of the time we practice.

Relaxation Pose – Savasana.

Probably the most challenging posture of all.

Complete rest.  Surrendering to rest and stillness.

We allow the whole physical body to rest and to simply be.  The mind stays present.

We enjoy the stillness of our body, the effortlessness of our breath and the freedom and clarity of our mind.

We stay from 5-7minutes.  We come out slowly and mindfully.  We roll onto one side into a foetal position and sit up slowly.

Thank you once again for your trust and for allowing me to suggest and guide you through a yoga practice. Remember to never strain, and always listen to your body.  Smile and have fun!

Yoga is a joyful movement practice, a healing practice and a way of life.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please be in touch at any time.