Complement your sport, fitness or training regime
No matter what your chosen sport, yoga is an excellent way to round off your training. Not only will a regular practice help you improve your mobility and bodyweight strength, you'll also learn how to properly relax, and practice mindfulness and mental focus as you go along.
Physical exercise is a stressor on the (nervous) system - not that life in itself, particularly in a busy city like London, isn't stressful already. Work and family commitments, plus the go go go nature of an urban environment can make it difficult to switch off and give both mind and body a chance to recharge, which is essential for optimum performance, as well as general health and wellbeing.
This class is suitable for everybody including complete beginners - no previous experience necessary, and no, you do not need to be able to touch your toes!
Promote recovery & relaxation
The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). As the name suggests, we cannot control it consciously. The SNS mobilises the body’s resources in a fight or flight situation, whereas the PNS regulates the bodily functions needed to repair and recover or 'rest & digest'. The human body is designed to spend the majority of its time directed by the PNS, with the SNS response only triggering in case of a life-threatening emergency. Saying that, the body considers all stress, be it physical or mental, a reason to kick the SNS into action.
Therefore, the key to improving your recovery is to activate the PNS, which is one of the aims of this yoga practice. Linking movement with breath through a series of postures (asanas) as well as practising breathing techniques (pranayama) to calm down the nervous system.
The benefits of yoga for athletes
A yoga class is more than just a mobility session - the practice of yoga asana (the postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) aims to gently bring you into a parasympathetic state (see above), thus promoting recovery. Furthermore, you will:
- Improve proprioception (i.e. joint position and motion in space)
- Develop an awareness of what it means to move well and within a healthy range of motion for your body, and how to work with restrictions and compensatory patterns
- Prevent injury
- Learn to breathe mindfully and practice different techniques, including abdominal breathing, which you can then apply in your sport