The extensive benefits of yoga are well publicised in modern media, and it has become a firm mainstay of Western culture. However for those who have never practiced yoga before, highly effective poses that are particularly beneficial to the needs of athletes are easily accessible, and can make an effective addition to a post-training muscle-recovery protocol.
Yoga postures (asanas, to give the proper term) can be used like a personal toolkit, effectively targeting specific muscle groups. The muscle-stretching and lengthening benefits of yoga are particularly relevant as a post-training protocol, as muscle contraction and tightness can result in discomfort and increase the risk of injury.
Here is a simple yoga triangle pose which targets muscle tightness in the lower body and major leg muscles, providing excellent post-training recovery benefits in a matter of minutes.
Areas Targeted: Chest and shoulders, hip flexors and hip joints, neck, spine, thighs, core, calf muscles and hamstrings.
Triangle pose (or Trikonasana) is excellent at releasing tension and lengthening muscles in the legs and torso. The hamstrings, inner thighs and side waistline are particularly targeted by this pose. Triangle pose is also excellent for strengthening and mobilising the major neck muscles.
Regular practice of triangle pose can help improve spinal mobility and improve motor control, and improve your ability to generate hip torque - an important factor in helping to improve strength in athletic performance and help prevent injury.
Stand with your feet about three to four feet apart firmly on an exercise mat. Rotate your right toes 90 degrees to the right and your left toes 10 to 15 degrees in the same direction. Reach your right arm out straight, parallel to your right thigh, stretching as far as you can.
Next bring your right hand down to the floor by your right foot, or to your right shin, with your left arm reaching straight up towards the ceiling. Once you are in this position, contract the quadriceps on both legs. Ensure the knee joints are stabilised and that the major leg muscles are supporting the movement, and not placing additional pressure on the knees.
Rotate your head to look up towards the ceiling, parallel to your arm.