Photo credit – Courtney Home
You may have heard it through the grape vine that yoga is awesome for swimmers! Yet, perhaps due to time, money or will power, you just never seem to be able to make it to an actual yoga class. Whatever your reason, you can still get some of the physical benefits of a yoga without ever stepping foot into an official yoga class. By doing these following poses you’ll stretch out muscles that get especially tight in a swimmer’s body.
Passive Chest Opener
This relaxing pose requires minimal effort from you, but it provides a huge opening to the chest and shoulders. Roll a blanket into a cylinder shape that is the width of your shoulders and about five inches in height. Lay on the ground, so that the long side of the blanket is horizontal to your shoulders. Sit down about five inches in front of the blanket with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Slowly lay back with the goal of getting your shoulder blade tips on top of the roll. Lie back on to the roll and allow the arms to go out into a t-shape or ninety degrees for a deeper stretch. Stay in this position anywhere from two to five minutes.
The Eagle is a challenging balancing pose that opens up the shoulders and hips. Take your left elbow under the right, so that your forearms form an x-shape. Next, try to connect close the hands in towards one another. Ideally you want to try to cross the wrists, so that the fingertips of the bottom hand touch the palm of the top hand. Next take your hips back as if you’re going to take a seat. Lift up the right leg then cross it over the left thigh. If you can, try to hook the foot behind the calf. Stay in this pose for six breaths then when you are ready, squeeze everything in, then unfurl and release.
Downward Facing Dog
This is the one stop pose for all of your ailments, because it accesses just about every part of the body including your ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, chest, spine, triceps, chest, neck and more. Come to your hands and knees with your wrists below your shoulders and your knees slightly back from your hips. Tuck your toes under, then push up with your hands and feet to raise your hips towards the ceiling. Try to hollow out your armpits to bring the shoulders on the back. Push down between the space of your index finger and thumb. To really get a leg stretch, try to sink the heels to the floor. Stay in the pose for as long as feels comfortable to you, remember to take deep and cleansing breaths.
Also, Try A Video!
There are tons of *free* online resources that take you through the basics of a yoga class. We recommend DoYogaWithMe.com as a good site with tons of videos with experienced instructors taking you through a yoga class in the comfort of your own home.