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Yoga for Active People and Athletes

April 12 2018
April 12 2018

Living in Austin gives us many opportunities to be active: hiking the trails, swimming in the green belt or Barton Springs, riding bikes, walking or jogging around Town Lake, playing golf, lifting weights, CrossFit in the park or rock climbing outside or at local gyms. Sometimes we turn an activity we love into a full on competitive sport, sometimes we do it just for fun and fitness.

Whether you identify as an active person or athlete, it’s important to look at three things:

  1. the muscles and mechanics being used,
  2. repetitive motion and overuse, and
  3. strategies to create balance in the body and stay injury free.

There are nearly 700 skeletal muscles in the human body. Without muscles the body could not move. Bringing our awareness to the muscles being used in an activity or sport gives us insight into what is going on under our skin and how our body moves. A prime mover or agonist, is a muscle whose contraction is responsible for producing a specific movement. An antagonist, is a muscle who opposes the movement produced by the agonist. For example, the triceps brachii muscle (back of the upper arm) extends/straightens the arm. The biceps brachii (front of the upper arm) flexes the arm at the elbow. Agonists and antagonists are functional opposites. If one produces flexion the other produces extension. Everything is connected.

When we do an activity or sport we are using the same muscles and muscle patterns over and over and over to move the body. Assuming we are mindful of technique, alignment and train smart and regularly the muscles adapt and become stronger, more efficient, have greater endurance and we experience greater performance. Sometimes, however, overuse occurs from the repetitive motion.

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and as a result is prone to the most repetitive motion injuries. The muscles of the rotator cuff that enclose the shoulder joint are a common site for injuries. Activities involving throwing a ball, swinging a tennis racket or golf club or lowering down from plank into chaturanga dandasana or onto the mat place considerable strain on the muscles of the rotator cuff.

Bike riders use the four quadricep (front of the upper leg) muscles to press down on the bike pedals and move the bike forward. This can result in over developed quadricep muscles and tight hamstring (back of the leg) muscles. Greater strength can lead to less flexibility and mobility. This is where yoga comes in and shines!

Adding yoga to your activity, sport and fitness routine has many benefits. Yoga compliments all other activities of the body. It improves focus, breathing, flexibility, and balances opposing muscle groups.

I have been active and an athlete my whole life. I played volleyball and basketball competitively all the way through college. I know what it means to be active, to train, to be injured and to use the healing aspects of yoga to recover.

Please join me Sunday, April 29, from 2:00-4:30 at Yoga Yoga Westgate for, “Yoga for Athletes.” We will explore the following:

  • Learn muscles and mechanics of common movements
  • Work on balancing strength, flexibility and mobility
  • Explore techniques to enhance training, support recovery and reduce injury
  • Learn short, simple yoga routines to add to your pre- and post-workout
  • Create balance in body and mind

See you on the mat!


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April 23, 2018 1:29 AM

very well said and such an informative article. thank you for sharing Yoga with active People and Athletes article. this is a really helpful article. Fitness For Health