Practicing yoga can be hugely beneficial for regular swimmers or professional swimmers. Improve your balance, breathing and alignment by incorporating a yoga programme into your swimming routine. The best part is that the yoga programme can fit around you, all you need is a clear space and a yoga mat!
So here are 5 ways yoga can make you a better swimmer:
#1 Strengthen core muscles
Practising yoga will not only stretch out your muscles, but it will also help to increase the strength in your smaller muscle groups which support the rest of your body. This will improve your balance and alignment, meaning you’ll be swimming faster and more streamline in no time.
There are lots of poses which focus on developing core strength. To begin, try the Chair pose and Warrior I. Ensure you are taking deep breaths and pushing further into the stretch on your exhale. If you’re already familiar with yoga, try the Dolphin Plank pose or One-Legged Down Dog.
#2 Increases flexibility
While you train, you will be regularly repeating the same body movements throughout your swimming sessions. This can lead to tightness and knots in your muscles, and can limit your development.
Yoga helps to restore your full function by releasing muscle tension through different poses. These exercises increase your range of motion and lengthen your muscles. Practicing yoga regularly will also stabilise your joints for better endurance strength and reduce the risk of injury.
Try practising poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Standing Back Bend, and Cobra to see which works best for you. Remember, you’ll need to practice the poses regularly to really start feeling the results.
#3 Develops breathing coordination
Aligning your breathing coordination with your swimming strokes is vital to develop your swimming technique and efficiency. In this sense, swimming is extremely similar to yoga. Yoga is well-known for its focus on mind and body awareness, connecting both together with different poses.
Yoga teaches you to effortlessly connect your body movements with your breathing, allowing you to push further into each pose as you exhale. Even if you are apprehensive about incorporating yoga into your swimming routine, you cannot deny the incredible benefits you would gain from mastering your breathing coordination.
#4 Improves mental focus
The benefits of yoga stretch far beyond your technique and time score. Although practicing any exercise is a great way to release stress and those all-important endorphins, regularly practicing yoga can regulate your emotions and improve your moods.
Combine this with an increased awareness of the mind and body, and your mental focus will be better than ever. Yoga acts as a stress release, so swimming doesn’t have to. Keep your mind clear and motivated for your swimming or training!
Don’t underestimate the benefits of yoga, especially because an improved mental focus has benefits beyond the pool and into your everyday life. There really aren’t any downfalls, you’ll be able to keep a clear perspective and be more in control of your mind.
#5 Restores energy levels
As a swimmer, you must be aware of how crucial a thorough cool-down is to your recovery. If you swim multiple times a week, or even every day, ensuring your body is recovering properly is extremely important to prevent injury. Whether you decide to include a yoga programme in your warm-up or cool-down, ensure you dedicate enough time for your muscles to release tension.
Research has proven that yoga helps to decrease inflammation at a cellular level. This helps to kick-start recovery. Connect this with the huge mental and breathing benefits of practicing yoga, and your recovery process will be more efficient than ever before!
If you are keen to incorporate yoga into your swimming routine, make sure you check with your swimming instructor to see if there are specific yoga programmes which align well with your current swimming routine.