With time on our hands and endless opportunities to improve our health and wellbeing, now is the perfect time to try that new workout you have always put off and get started on that New Year’s Resolution that COVID so conveniently interrupted. However, with gyms and studios closed, it can be hard to know exactly what you need to do to, in order to maximise your home workout potential. That is why us at SportsPower Geelong are here to help find your ‘zen’ by teaching you some yoga poses that you can try at home.
Before we start our workout, it is crucial that we have the right apparel. Like most exercises, it is pivotal that you wear the right sports apparel, so unfortunately, the ‘Birks’ might have to be put aside for this one. In terms of apparel, it is best to wear a lightweight and breathable top, preferably a singlet or a short sleeve top, that is not tight nor heavy material. This will weigh you don’t and restrict your upper body from reaching its maximum stretching capacity. Regarding bottoms, either tights, shorts or bike shorts will suffice. Compression like fabric for your lower half is ideal for working out, as not only does it keep you warm, it also reduces exercise induced muscle damage and accelerates the recovery process (runtothefinish.com), so hopefully those hamstrings aren’t too sore the next morning! As for footwear, yoga is a workout completed barefoot. Some yogist’s even complete their workouts barefoot on the grass without a mat… not for me! It is also advised that you have a mat, towel and a water bottle, to refuel mid and post workout! Pick yourself up a Nike drink bottle at SportsPower Geelong to get started.
Now, here are some yoga poses that will put you on the right track, and help you create your own yoga studio within the comfort of your own home.
First up we will start with a basic triangle pose. This technique is designed to both relieve your lower back of stress as well as strengthen your core. Strengthening your core is a great way to both stay in shape, as well as improve your flexibility, balance and stability. It is essential when completing this position, to ensure that you are balanced, and to try and place your hand as closed hand as close to the ground as possible, whilst maintaining a straight opposing arm. Whilst getting your hand to the ground makes for a great stretch, as per the Yoga Journal, for beginners struggling with this exercise, modify this by placing your hand along your shin, rather than the floor, to allow you to keep balanced. Repeat this for both sides, and hold the stretch for as long as you feel necessary.
Next up, we have the high lunge. This one is a simple, yet staple yoga exercise, perfect for all yogists, regardless of their capabilities. For this yoga pose to be effective, it is essential to ensure that your back is upright, with your hands placed above your head prior to lunging. Similar to the previous pose, this is an alternating exercise, so begin with placing one foot forward, before switching it up. Lean into the stretch as far as you can, allowing you to ‘feel the burn’, however don’t make that burn turn into a call for an ice pack! For beginners, who may find difficulties with balancing, it is advised to look down, and widen the stance of your feet, to ensure your stability (Yoga Journal). Try lunging on both legs for about 5-10 seconds each side, for 3 reps to start.
Following this is the standing forward fold, also known as Uttanasana (thegoodbody.com)… try say that five times in a row! Now whilst many of us may struggle to touch our toes (and envy those who can), this yoga pose will enable you to do so with continual practice. The name in this case gives away the exercise, simply arch forward so that you are looking at your knees, slowly gliding hands down your legs, until reaching a point where your hammys can feel the stretch. This task will not only improve your flexibility and strengthen those lower back muscles, but also hopefully allow you to start picking up the remote off the floor without the big ‘grunt’ following. To maximise the outcome of this yoga pose, take a deep breath prior to stretching downward, and as you do so, slowly release your breath in junction with your downward movement. This will enable you to both stretch and feel a sense of relaxation at the same time, allowing you to reach the optimal benefits. Try this exercise 5-6 times, remembering to take it slow.
In order to ensure your longevity in exercising, performing a ‘bridge’ is essential to doing so. Many AFL and elite sportsmen and women around the world are incorporating the bridge in both their warmups and their recovery. As per ‘Do You Yoga’, in order to complete this exercise, all that is required is that you lie flat on your back, with your feet completely flat, shoulder length apart. It is important that you keep your arms flat on the ground and thrust upward with your hips. It is advised that you for ‘8-10’ breaths, and then lower your hips and repeat (Doyou.com). This exercise can be done by either slow holds, with your hips raised, or as short thrusts… perhaps a combination of both? Not only does the bridge strengthen your back and hamstrings, it predominantly works on improving your glutes and hips.
Our final basic yoga exercise for today is the ‘Childs Pose’. Designed to stretch the hips, thighs and ankles as well as the back (Yoga Outlet), this pose is a simple and easy stretch for beginners. Whilst not ideal for people with knee pain, this pose does help ease tension in the back, when it is coupled with slow and controlled breathing. Sitting on your ankles, knees on the ground, back arched and face nearing the floor, this activity can be performed with your arms either extended or tucked up next to your feet. Whilst the effects of this may not hit you at first, we would suggest taking deep breaths, and ever so slightly moving your lower back up and down, until you find your sweet spot.
We hope that this little taste tester has given you some ideas on how to start owning your own yoga workout. If you found this helpful, or perhaps have a few of your own exercises you think we should share, let us know on our socials @SportsPowerGeelong.