Simple Home Yoga Sequence for the Busy Athlete
Yoga is a form of exercise which involves stretching or relaxing muscles through physical movement. A basic sequence of poses are practiced with the goal of improving flexibility and strength in specific areas.
There are several variations of yoga, but they all share some common elements. They include postures (poses) such as Downward Facing Dog, Warrior I, Warrior II and others; breathing exercises like Pranayama, Bikram and others; and meditation techniques like pratyahara and mudra. These practices may be combined into a single practice called a series of poses or a sequence of sequences.
Yoga is not just a way to relax your body. It’s also a means of self-development. You develop discipline, focus and confidence through practicing yoga.
There are many benefits from yoga including stress reduction, better sleep patterns, improved digestion and more.
How To Do Yoga?
1) Choose Your Style Of Practice: If you’re new to yoga then it might be helpful if you start off with one of the beginner classes offered at your local gym or studio.
It’s a good idea to learn the basics before moving on to more difficult and complex sequences. After you’ve built a strong foundation, then you can explore other styles of yoga.
2) Commit To A Time Of Day: Try to commit to a time of day that you’ll practice.
For some people this is first thing in the morning, others prefer the evening and still others like to schedule it in between their morning and evening workouts.
3) Create A Space: It’s always helpful to have a designated space in your home just for yoga.
This can be a corner of your room, or if you have the space, a small carpeted area or a mini rug to lay your mat. Having a designated space that you move your mat to each day makes it easier to remember and reminds you of your commitment to yourself.
4) Set Your Intention: Before you begin your routine, take a few moments to set an intention for your practice.
What do you hope to achieve? Are you trying to relieve stress? Are you looking to center yourself and find calmness? Is there an emotion that you’re trying to move past?
Maybe you just want to have fun! Whatever your intention, just having one can really make a difference in your practice.
5) Get Comfortable: You may be inclined to start jumping right into the postures, but it’s important to take a moment and get comfortable.
Begin by taking a few deep breaths and slowly moving into a comfortable position on your mat. This will allow you to gain a little flexibility, which will be helpful when moving into more complex postures.
6) Listen To Your Body: One of the most important things to remember is to listen to your body.
If a position hurts, don’t do it. Yoga is meant to make you feel good, so if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! It’s also perfectly okay to pause your practice if you need to.
Never feel like you need to rush through your routine. Take all the time you need and never rush yourself.
7) Stay Hydrated: One of the most important things to remember when doing yoga is to stay hydrated.
Before you begin your practice, take a large glass of water and drink it down in one or two gulps (don’t gulp the water obviously). Then, after you’ve finished, take another large glass of water and drink that down as well. Staying hydrated during your practice will help prevent cramping and fatigue.
8) Find A Friend: If you can, find a friend to practice yoga with.
This can be very helpful for motivation and support. It’s also a lot more fun!
1. Stand up straight with your feet together.
Your arms should hang naturally at your sides. This is the starting position.
2. Slowly raise your arms up, extending them above your head so that they are parallel to the floor.
Do not bend at the elbows. Keep your palms facing the ceiling.
3. Gently turn your palms so they are facing one another.
Let your arms return slowly to their original position.
4. Turn your palms again so they are facing down.
Your upper arms should remain parallel to the floor and you should still have a nice stretch from fingertips to shoulder.
5. Gently raise your arms back up so that they are alongside your ear.
Keep them straight but not rigid.
6. Slowly return your arms to their original position.
7. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, slowly rotate your palms so that they are facing one another again.
1. Stand with your feet together.
Bend your knees slightly and squat down. You should push your bottom back and pull your abdominal muscles in as you do so.
2. Clasp your hands together tightly.
3. Keeping your spine straight, raise your arms until they are just parallel to the floor.
Your head should be aligned with your arms and your shoulders.
4. Look straight ahead throughout the duration of the posture.
Do not look at your feet!
5. Hold the posture for ten seconds.
6. Slowly release and move into the second part of this posture.
7. Keeping your arms extended, lift one foot off of the ground about two inches.
Hold this position for ten seconds.
8. Repeat with your other foot, holding it in the air for ten seconds as well.
9. Release your feet to the floor.
As you do, turn your toes under you and push yourself back to a standing position in one quick motion.
10. Once you are standing, take a deep breath in and as you exhale bow forward towards the floor.
11. Keeping your back straight and your legs slightly bent, touch your forehead to the floor. If you cannot reach the floor then simply bend at the waist but do not round your back outward.
12. Hold this position for fifteen seconds.
13. Slowly release the position and return to a standing position.
14. Repeat the entire routine two more times. For the second and third time go a bit faster than normal but not so much that you lose form.
15. After the final repetition, hold the Utkatasana pose for thirty seconds but do not move into the next part of the pose.
16. Slowly release the pose and allow your body to relax.
Congratulations! You have finished the first routine! This part of your training is complete.
You may now take a break before moving on to Part 2 of your training.
As always, if you experience any problems or feel pain, stop immediately and consult a physician.
Good luck and stay safe!
Part 2: Intermediate Yoga Routines
Part 2 of your training presents two more yoga routines designed to build flexibility and increase your strength. The first routine below is more strenuous than the previous routine. Start with this one first to see how your body reacts.
If you find it easy, by all means feel free to move on to the more difficult routine presented below it. Alternatively, if you find this routine to be too difficult then move onto the routine presented below it and come back to this one later when you feel ready for it.
Practice both routines at least twice a week to see the best results. Do not practice either routine before bed as the flexibility exercises can keep you awake.
1. Begin by standing with your legs about two feet apart.
Your toes should be pointed straight ahead.
2. Inhale and lift your arms up and over your head as far as you can reach them.
3. Keeping your toes pointed, exhale and bend at the waist.
Try to touch your forehead to your knees.
4. Hold this position and breathe deeply for five seconds.
Slowly release back to the start position.
5. Repeat this exercise a total of three times.
By the third time you should be able to reach your toes easier than the first time.
6. When finished, take a deep breath in and then exhale fully, lifting your head up last.
1. Begin on all fours with your back straight and your head facing forward.
Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your knees should be directly under your hips.
2. Shift your weight to your right leg and lift your left leg a few inches off of the ground.
3. Keeping your knee bent, move it over your ankle so that the top of your foot is flat on the ground and your knee is pointing out to the side.
Your calf should be as parallel to the ground as possible.
4. Keeping your left leg in place, lift your right leg a few inches off of the ground.
Point your right foot towards the ceiling so that only the top of your toes are in contact with the ground. Your right leg should be slightly bent at this point.
5. Keeping your right leg in place, slowly pull your left leg back so that it is almost Superman-like in appearance.
Your left toes should now be on the ground and you’ll be balancing mostly on your right hinge. If you’re having trouble with this part, you can put your left foot flat on the ground for support and then slowly lift it up when you’ve got balance.
6. Hold this position and take a deep breath in and out.
What is most troublesome about this move is learning how to balance. If you need to, put your left foot on the ground and slowly lift it up when you feel secure in your balance. Until then, keep it mostly off of the ground for safety purposes.
7. Slowly release back to the starting position.
8. Take a deep breath in and out and repeat the entire routine at least twice more.
The next exercise is not quite as difficult to master, but it does take some patience and skill.
1. Begin by standing with your legs together and your arms out in front of you for balance.
2. Slowly lift your right foot off of the ground and slowly raise it upward.
Try to keep your knee straight the entire time.
3. When the top of your foot is at its highest point, pause and then slowly lower it back down.
4. When your foot is back on the ground, repeat the exercise with your left foot.
5. Take a deep breath in and out.
6. Repeat the entire process at least three times for each leg.
By the final time, you should find that it’s much easier to perform.
When both of those are mastered, you’ll be able to run much faster and jump over things without the extra effort of taking off at the knees like you used to.
I guess this is where I tell you that you can stop training now. I suppose maybe I should have told you that sooner, but then it wouldn’t have built character or whatever. I’m sure you’ll want to go show off your newfound manliness now by hunting or whatever it is real men do.
Oh, and the old man at the tavern?
He wasn’t a dream. He was my dad. Best wishes, kid.
You head home a wiser and slightly more manly child.
Sources & references used in this article:
Yoga for every athlete: Secrets of an Olympic coach by A Kogler – 1995 – books.google.com
The Introduction of Yoga Recovery on Physiological and Psychological Stress and Performance in NCAA Athletes by PD Schober – 2018 – scholarworks.umt.edu
The mental athlete by A Saltzman – 2018 – New Harbinger Publications
Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression by K Porter – 2003 – books.google.com
The breakout principle: How to activate the natural trigger that maximizes creativity, athletic performance, productivity, and personal well-being by B Forbes – 2011 – books.google.com
Yoga for busy people: increase energy and reduce stress in minutes a day by A Kogler – 2006 – Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd.