You can flex, but can you bend?
Hayley Cotter explains why it's beneficial to balance your Gym routine with some stretching, and even - dare we say it - Yoga!
Regularly attending the gym, cardio, weight training and running can be excellent workouts as well as a great stress-release from the demands of London life. Repetitive working of the same muscle groups can lead to a noticeable tightness in the body, affecting posture, range of movement and placing a huge amount of strain on joints leading to injury (http://lifehacker.com/the-most-common-exercise-injuries-and-how-you-can-avoi-1659615551). This, combined with the fact that most of us spend hours hunched over desks at work, can lead to long-term negative health issues.
Yoga and its range of benefits is the perfect tonic. It works the entire body, safely strengthening and lengthening the muscles, removing pressure from joints, improving posture and opening up the body. This can actually enhance performance at the gym and make the body less prone to injury, whilst also taking care of your general well-being. John Capouya, in his book, ‘Real Men do Yoga’ states that
‘yoga is a tensile strength, born of holding sustained poses and using your own body weight as dynamic, living resistance…while weight-lifting builds bulk, it also shortens and tightens muscles. Yoga lengthens them, generating strength throughout the entire range of motion.’
The book highlights that many professional athletes practice yoga as part of their training to give them complete balance.
If you decide to join the workshop on the 29th of April it will begin with basic breath awareness, using techniques to send much-needed oxygen and blood to tight muscles to loosen them up and release pressure.
A tailored sequence of postures will be explored, working on specific muscle groups which typically become stiff after strength and cardio training, using the breath to allow freedom in movement. These include the hamstrings (standing and seated forward bends), quads (squat and lunge variations as well as balancing poses), chest (simple backbends) and shoulders (twists and side stretches).
The focus is on building flexibility and stability, encouraging balanced strength in the body.
The workshop will round off with some simple restorative poses using bolsters and blocks and a guided meditation, all of which can be practiced at home with cushions and blankets, after or between workouts. During this rest period the muscles have time to heal and repair, making the body stronger in preparation for your next workout. Without proper rest and restoration, muscle growth and recovery slows down and the central nervous system stops recharging so you may feel tired and weak during training (www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/9-things-every-athlete-needs-to-know-about/).
High intensity workouts late into the evening (often being the only available time to schedule in exercise) and high levels of Adrenalin rushing through the body, can lead to insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns. The mind will relax, release and really let go aiding better sleep patterns. According to a study presented at the Associated Sleep Societies’ annual meeting, people who practiced yoga and meditation were more likely to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep (www.yogajournal.com/poses/yoga-by-benefit/insomnia/cant-sleep-try-yoga/)
Learn more about the benefits of yoga to complement your workouts, improve agility and boost physical and mental well-being by joining Hayley at 13.30 on Saturday the 29th of April for this two hour workshop.
No Previous experience of Yoga necessary