Sean Vigue recently shared five reasons why athletes should be doing yoga. And today, this Fit Bottomed Dude — who teaches yoga, Pilates, boot camps and is a personal trainer while living in the mountains of Colorado and waiting for the release of his first book, Power Yoga for Athletes, coming May 1 from Fair Winds Press wherever books are sold — is sharing five fantastic yoga poses for athletes. Be sure to check out more of Sean’s awesomeness on his YouTube Channel (he’s YouTube’s Most Watched Yoga and Pilates Guy!) and check out his website.
There are so, so many reasons for athletes to do yoga. But where do you start? If you’re wanting to try yoga but aren’t sure exactly where to begin, I’ve put together five diverse yoga poses that are great for athletes. They’ll get you started on your personal yoga practice and have you reaping the benefits in no time at all.
My whole fitness brand is about getting people moving now and experiencing dramatic improvements immediately. Experience trumps everything else. My new book, Power Yoga for Athletes, is all about getting you on the mat today and not looking back. This is your call to action. It’s your time to be a champion. I’ll meet you on the mat!
When to Practice
Yoga will meet you wherever and whenever you need it. You can practice in the morning, afternoon, evening, pre-workout, in the middle of your workout or at the end. I always change up my practice times and sequences for optimum results and enjoyment. Listen to your body and work it into your schedule. You can easily vary the duration of your yoga workout to make it fit your schedule. I’ve done amazing 90-minute routines when time permits and gotten a fantastic workout in as little as 5 minutes. Read on for five of my favorite yoga poses for athletes!
1. Mudra Lunge
From a standing position, step the right foot forward and bend the knee so it’s right above the ankle while extending the left leg. Reach the hands behind the back and lace the fingers together. Gently pull your knuckles toward the ground as you open up your chest and shoulders. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side. This pose really opens up your chest and shoulders while working your legs and stretching the hip flexors.
2. Eagle Lunge
From the Mudra Lunge, reach the right arm forward while wrapping the left one underneath and bringing the hands together. With each inhale, lift your arms and upper body up into a backbend while sinking further into the lunge. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side. Enjoy this huge shoulder and back stretch that also builds balance and strength in the legs while lengthening the hip flexors.
3. Extended Triangle
Bring your feet to a wide stance and open the right hip while turning the left foot in slightly. Draw your arms out to the side and gently place the right hand on your right leg as far down as possible while extending your left arm to the right while looking up into your left arm (or armpit!). Press your left hip away while reaching the left arm further. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side. This pose builds strong, powerful legs and stretches your sides, shoulders and back.
4. Reverse Warrior
From standing, step your left foot forward and bend the knee so it’s directly above your ankle while extending the right leg back and turning your foot slightly in so the heel touches the ground. Inhale as you reach the left arm up and back while bringing your right hand to your right leg. Keep breathing deep as you bring the left arm back further. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side. Reverse Warrior builds strong legs, endurance, focus and stretches the entire upper body.
5. Crouching Chair
Place your left ankle on the right thigh in Tree pose and press back like you’re going to sit in your favorite chair so your knees bend and the weight is in your glutes and heels. Bring your hands together and touch the elbows to your leg. Keep your upper body lifted as you press back more with each exhale. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side. This pose not only builds balance, focus and stamina but also opens your hips and increases bone density.
Frozen Scissors (Extra Credit)
Begin on your back and draw your right leg towards you and extend the left leg away while keeping your lower back on the ground. Peel your head and neck off the ground while reaching your arms to the sides and engage your abs. Flex your feet for more calf engagement. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths and squeeze your abs with each exhale. This is a pose to build a strong and balanced core while stretching your hamstrings, gluteus and calves. Don’t worry about the shaking — that builds character.
What yoga pose was your favorite? —Sean Vigue