Yoga can make you fit­ter and calmer

Ev­ery­day Ath­lete

Sunday Herald Life - - MIND & BODY - Tommy Young

THE rea­son­ing be­hind this week­end’s fo­cus on yoga stems from some­thing I am see­ing more and more of in our clients and among ath­letes. The real topic of dis­cus­sion is move­ment dys­func­tion in the phys­i­cally ac­tive.

Move­ment dys­func­tion can present it­self in many dif­fer­ent forms. Cross-train­ing – in­clud­ing weightlift­ing, run­ning, gym­nas­tic ex­er­cise, com­bat sports – re­quires you to test the lim­its of not only strength, skill, and ca­pac­ity, but also move­ment. If you can­not squat keep­ing your torso up­right with your arms di­rectly above your head, you will never be able to snatch or over­head squat heavy loads safely. If you can­not even get your arms di­rectly over­head with­out break­ing into ex­ces­sive lum­bar ex­ten­sion (lower back arch), then don’t even think about press­ing a heavy weight over your head un­less com­press­ing your lum­bar discs is the de­sired out­come.

If you can’t dy­nam­i­cally lift your leg above waist height then those 200 kicks you throw a week at Muay Thai prac­tice will leave you in a stiff mess at the end of the week.

Move­ment dys­func­tion can be ad­dressed in many ways and has been in the lime­light re­cently with move­ment spe­cial­ists such as Ido Por­tal work­ing with ath­letes and movie stars. Yoga is a great start for those who show im­me­di­ate signs of dys­func­tion. Its prac­tice dates back hun­dreds of thou­sands of years and cen­tres on con­trol­ling both body and mind.

Yoga in­cor­po­rates var­i­ous mus­cu­lar con­trac­tions with spe­cific breath­ing and move­ment pat­terns which can yield im­prove­ments in flex­i­bil­ity, mo­bil­ity and strength. It also has a calm­ing ef­fect that leaves you feel­ing more re­laxed and fo­cused. Just what we need given our hec­tic life­styles.

Learn from an ex­pert

With ev­ery yoga ses­sion you at­tend, you are work­ing with a qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional, in the same way you work with your per­sonal trainer or coach. Fol­low­ing a YouTube video can be a great start but won’t pro­vide the feed­back re­quired to help with your goals.

Feed off the en­ergy of the class

Ben­e­fit from be­ing in a group at­mos­phere and you will soon find that most peo­ple strug­gle with sim­i­lar move­ment dys­func­tions, so never think that you will be “too out of shape” or “not flex­i­ble enough” to join in.

Learn some­thing new

Your first yoga class is just as hum­bling as the first time you stepped into the gym, or signed up to learn a new sport. There is noth­ing more re­ward­ing and self-ful­fill­ing than see­ing progress in some­thing you do. Just like any­thing you have ever ded­i­cated time to­wards, the more you com­mit, the more re­ward you will reap. You’ll be thank­ing your yoga in­struc­tor when you see the carry-over to your sport, train­ing or daily life.

Re­lax and re­cover

Train­ing, at our gym, in­volves mov­ing fast at high in­ten­sity, but in or­der to cul­ti­vate re­sults you must also cul­ti­vate rest. We al­ways rec­om­mend that you should be re­cov­er­ing as hard as you train. Be­ing able to re­lax deeply helps you come back with more power, fo­cus and de­ter­mi­na­tion, be­cause you’ve had am­ple time to re­cover. In­cor­po­rat­ing yoga prac­tices into your train­ing week on an ac­tive re­cov­ery day, is a great way to help en­sure you are ready to roll for your next day of train­ing.

On this note, ask your­self how much time and en­ergy you ded­i­cate to­wards restora­tive prac­tices. An easy way to work this out would be to as­sign 10 min­utes of restora­tive prac­tice for ev­ery hour you train. So if you hit the gym five hours per week, you now owe your body 50 min­utes of yoga, mas­sage, sauna or gen­tle car­dio­vas­cu­lar train­ing.

For longevity in health and train­ing, the im­por­tance of restora­tive prac­tice should never be over­looked. It’s time that you stopped gri­mac­ing in pain ev­ery time you squat, fight­ing through pain ev­ery time you put a bar over your head, mak­ing that groan­ing noise when you sit up or get out of bed and started ad­dress­ing your move­ment qual­ity to keep you ac­tive for the long haul.

* We run yoga ses­sions ev­ery Wed­nes­day at 7am and 7.15pm with our awe­some and su­per-knowl­edge­able in­struc­tor, Philippa. For more in­for­ma­tion drop us an email or give us a call to join the class.

Ev­ery­day Ath­lete gym is lo­cated in the heart of Glas­gow and pro­vides a unique, fun train­ing en­vi­ron­ment geared to­wards help­ing clients achieve their health and fit­ness goals. The ded­i­cated team at Physio Ef­fect pro­vides a full pack­age of ser­vices that will en­sure you’re sup­ported through in­jury pre­ven­tion, as­sess­ment, re­cov­ery and help­ing you achieve your ul­ti­mate per­for­mance goals. We of­fer a range of ser­vices: phys­io­ther­apy, sports mas­sage, pi­lates, yoga and mo­bil­ity. Unit 18B, 100 Bor­ron Street, Glas­gow, G49XG; www.ev­ery­day­ath­let­e­ www.phys­io­ef­

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