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Lisa Smith, Yoga teacher of 7 years, has detailed the benefits of adding Yoga into your Triathlon Training.
Ujjayi breathing, in yoga practice and in pranayama, extends your overall breath length when practiced regularly over time. This improves the efficiency of your breath whilst training and competing, particularly if you struggle to do 2 complete breaths with your head down in front crawl.
Many yoga postures help develop core strength which is so important for cyclists, such as upward raised leg pose below. The quads and knees can be strengthened and supported with squats and the forward bending action of cycling can be counter-posed with backbends.
Has a tendency to shorten ligaments and tendons, particularly so if you are a runner first and a triathlete second. Most yoga postures help lengthen them and increase flexibility. Staying in yoga postures also helps build strength and stamina.
There is a tendency to over-process and analyse what we are doing in all aspects of our lives, particularly when training for an event. Regular yoga practice gives you the chance to still the constant chatter in your mind. You can work your body and breath without measuring, comparing, competing. The letting go, being with yourself and noticing how you are, in each moment, can open you up to further possibilities.
Athletes know that a good night’s sleep is an important part of their schedule, particularly before an event, and many yoga students comment on how well they sleep after a yoga class.
Yoga teachings talk about AGNI, which can be described as our metabolism or digestive fire. It is said that when Agni is strong you are in good health. Twisting postures support healthy Agni.
The ancient medical system of Ayurveda describes Agni as being at its strongest between 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am. It, therefore, suggests that you eat your main meal in the middle of the day and eat nothing after 7pm in the evening so that night-time Agni can work on recovery, growth and repair rather than processing a large, late evening meal. This may be how sleep and healthy eating patterns can improve performance. Try it for a few days – you will wake up feeling different!
Lisa has been practising and studying Yoga for 18 years and has been teaching since 2010. She is fully qualified and insured through the British Wheel of Yoga. She also runs St Davids Wellbeing, a dedicated centre in the heart of St Davids which supports individual and community well-being on all levels.
She teaches Viniyoga, a gentle form of Yoga using different postures to encourage and develop the breath. It is a meditative approach to Yoga, suitable for everyone.