June 21, 2021
YOGA FOR SWIMMERS (II)
The benefits of yoga are well known. Yoga and swimming are also sports that complement each other: they strengthen the whole body and help you control your breathing and relax. As today is International Yoga Day, we would like to share with you a simple routine, specifically for swimmers and for all levels, from our ambassador and yoga instructor, Jamie King.
Jamie King – Founder of Flex and Flow and yoga instructor
Happy International Yoga Day. Today, let's share our gratitude for this practice, this way of life that gives us all so much. Join me on your mat today in celebration and thanks for our breath, our bodies, and the ability to move them freely.
Yoga is great cross training for swimmers for so many reasons. A regular practice can increase range of motion throughout the body, and build strength. Generally, swimmers tend to use the front body more, and as a result can experience tightness and imbalance. Gentle yoga backbends, twists, and poses that strengthen the core are effective at counteracting this tightness and rebalancing the body.
Try this 8 minute flow to stretch out the front body designed especially for swimmers - of any experience level.
We begin this flow with a gentle cow and cat pose to articulate the spine, open up the front side of the body, and harmonize the breath with our movements.
From there, we make our way to downward facing dog to stretch out the backside of the body before stepping forward into a nice, luxurious forward fold. We then move into a low lunge to stretch out the chest, and hip flexors before moving into a gentle twist to strengthen the core, and find stability in the legs. From the twisted low lunge, we explore a bind with our backfoot to increase our shoulder mobility, and release tension in the front of the thigh. We then move to supported warrior 3 to neutralize the back body, and strengthen our glutes and core. We repeat this on the other side and then make our way to a standing backbend to open up the chest, and shoulders.
And then it’s back to downward facing dog for a transition into an easy twist - with the back knee lifted this time - to strengthen the glutes and legs, while opening up the chest and shoulders. We then coordinate our core and legs to lift into high crescent lunge and do a few rounds of hovering crescent lunge with cactus arms - a gentle backbend to really stretch and strengthen our core, chest, shoulders and legs. We move back to crescent pose and explore a Kali Mudra bind to strengthen the shoulders, triceps, and oblique muscles and take this shape into a Warrior 3. From Warrior 3, we move to eagle pose to strengthen the calves, hamstrings, ankles, thighs, and hips, and open up the upper back and shoulders. Next, it’s our final balancing posture of the sequence - we make our way to standing high knee raise and transition into Warrior 3.
We transition from Warrior 3 to crescent lunge and take it straight into Warrior 2. We add a reverse Warrior open up the side body before moving to side angle pose to open up the hips and strengthen the core. Finally, we find a horizon lunge and use it to transition to side plank to strengthen our shoulders and core. And then we do it all again on the other side!
Now that the body is warm, we take it back down to our knees and set up for our final heart opening posture of the class - Ustrasana (camel pose) - this invigorating posture will not only open the whole front side of the body, but will also energize the body and mind. We remain in Ustrasana for a full 5 breaths and then release to our knees to neutralize the spine.
To cool down, we meet on our seat for a seated twist, and then lengthen out into a luxurious seated forward fold before finding our way back to our center with a few calming, grounding breaths to close out class.
ABOUT JAMIE KING
Jamie King is the founder of Flex & Flow, a global community for people who love to move. She believes that each person who walks into Flex & Flow should feel a sense of belonging and leave feeling empowered through movement and community. She is a 500 hour RYT yoga instructor, RCYT 95 hour kids, teens, and trauma certified instructor, creator of Flex & Flow’s signature HIIT & Flow workout, lover of water, and competitive ultra runner.
Jamie enjoys challenging students to move with their breath, build heat and strength, and find their power within. She loves bringing people together on the mat, out on the trails, and in the water - where she loves to encourage everyone to climb a little higher.