MEN DO YOGA

Ok, I get it, I won’t really get men interested in trying one of my yoga classes by talking too much about conscious breathing, stillness and calmness within! So I thought I’d share some real physical benefits that come with yoga, especially when it comes to combining yoga with a sport you already enjoy.

First of all, any of you feeling hindered in any way by a bad knee, stiff back or shoulder, or any other body part that is not working smoothly while doing your sport? Then I’d say try yoga and see what yoga can do for you.

A lot of top athletes include yoga poses in their workout in order to care for their bodies. Athletes love competing, and yoga helps the longevity of their career – yoga and sport work really well together! Yoga allows for the body to get into different poses than the ones you find yourself in in your sport, which helps balancing it all out.

I have noticed that the athletes coming to my classes are really committed to the practice once they notice the benefits yoga provides. It could mean more fluid movement in the spine and shoulder region for those enjoying a rotational sport such as tennis, squash or golf (this could for example increase your racket head speed when playing tennis). It could mean less pressure in the lower back as many yoga poses allow for more space between the vertebrae (cyclists, are you aware that your lower back is in constant flexion when you are on your bike?). Or how about increased stability around knee joints as yoga will make you work on strengthening muscles in this area of the body.

And I will also mention the hips, as everything we do goes through the hips, whether it is walking, sitting or playing sports. By working on the psoas, this deep inner core muscle that works when you are flexing at the hips, and which is so important for stabilising your spine, you will allow for more movement and flexibility in this region of the body. A stronger and longer psoas muscle has great effect on the body, not only while enjoying a sport but also on your overall posture. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk during your work day.

What happens as you move through various yoga poses is that you increase circulation flow in the body and allow for decompression in joints. In short, yoga helps the body function as best it can, and you reap all the benefits when enjoying your sport. As the body has great memory, you will probably pretty quickly notice a difference in how your body feels. When you go back on your bike, the tennis/squash court, onto the golf course or out for a run, your body will remember movements you’ve been practising, muscles you’ve been triggering, as well as how you have worked on decompression in your joints. This will lead you to move with more confidence in your sport. You will be moving from a centred body.

So, what’s stopping you now?😄 I teach yoga in Wimbledon, and run Yoga for Sports classes at The Wimbledon Club every Wednesday 9.30-10.30am and 7.30pm-8.30pm. I also do 1-1 sessions from home in Wimbledon SW20 (just off Copse Hill). Hoping to see you on the mat! To book or for more info, contact me at annettewiikyoga@gmail.com

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children and live in Wimbledon.