We all understand the importance of aerobic fitness, anaerobic capacity, strength and power to our success on the sports field and in the gym. It has only been recently that flexibility, stability, balance and functional range of movement have started to become common topics in the changing room.
With the huge number of professional sports people using Yoga and/or Pilates as a regular part of their conditioning and recovery, many more weekend warriors are starting to consider adding Yoga and Pilates to their routine.
One of the first things to consider is will integrating Yoga and Pilates into my current routine benefit my performance?
The obvious answer is a resounding YES. The physical benefits of Yoga and Pilates range from increase lean body mass, increased strength, increased core stability, injury prevention, balanced and overall optimal functional strength, improved coordination, proprioception, balance, enhanced body control, improved cardiovascular system and increased range of motion.
Not only do you reap the benefits of complete physical system improvements Yoga and Pilates are both proven to increase focus, mental control, concentration, confidence and decrease stress. Even the ALL BLACKS use Yoga and Pilates to beat their rivals with their mind game.
The next question is HOW to integrate Yoga and Pilates into your training?
Firstly– I would always recommend either personal training or group sessions where a qualified teacher can give you personalised feedback on your technique (especially if you are carrying old or new injuries). Every body is different and poses need to be selected and adjusted to your own needs rather than watching a “20 min core blitz” session on Youtube.
Secondly– Remember your muscles need 48hr recovery from a strength based training session so ensure that you let your teacher know you training schedule so they can ensure that you can open the muscles that have been used in the previous 48 hrs and create balance and stability around your other muscle groups.
Thirdly– Always, always invest the same (if not more) time and effort into the relaxation (otherwise know as svanasana) part of a session. This is where you will reap not only the mental benefits of Yoga and Pilates, but also assist with improving recovery time from your previous training sessions.
And most importantly……
We create the most benefit by focusing and concentrating on how our body moves and ensuring we are using the appropriate muscle groups at the right time. If you start to try to ‘Push Yourself’ during a session you will inevitably miss out on the full benefits of Yoga and Pilates. Once you start to lose alignment, engage incorrect muscle groups and start to over strain, rather than seeing an increased benefit (as is perceived) we start to create imbalances that we are trying to remedy. Yes we work hard in a class, however we “Do the right thing, not what is easy”
Our physical Yoga and Pilates postures are designed to help master the body and enhance our physical function creating a healthy and balanced body and mind. Imagine if you apply the some focus, time and energy to Yoga and Pilates how truly powerful you can be!!!!