Performance Yoga – 10.6.14 (Getting Ready for the Race)

The moments before the big race (Mile walk, 5K, 13.1 Half Marathon, 26.2 Marathon, 50-mile bike ride, etc.) are crucial.  The way we treat our bodies in the moments before the event definitely have an affect on our performance.  What about the mind though?

I never spent time prior to a race or bike ride separated and contemplating the upcoming event.  I would take a mental recording of the event and beat myself up over a mistake that would cost me time.  Where I would become even more annoyed at myself was that I would repeat the same mistake.  I’d attack a hill rather than find my cadence.  I started asking myself “why am I getting my butt handed to me on these hills?”  I never took a moment to reflect.  I had no control.

When we look at our performance in the frame of a mirror, we allow for the mind and body to connect.  There is strength in producing a mental image that is appropriate and open to viewing the mistake.  Control comes from letting go and viewing our performance without judgment.  I know you want to crush a PR in your next race or event, but have you taken a moment to visualize this?  Use the script below and see what happens :).

Key Component
Controllability – Make the image do what you want it to do. Many athletes have difficulty controlling their images, often repeating the same mistake over and over, or failing to conjure up the appropriate image. Learn how to program your own “internal computer” so you are confident and focused on those things you want to occur.

Getting Ready for the Race Visualization –

Allow your mind to wander off to the meeting…. See the track… the people… see the other runners… the officials… the time keepers…
None of that is important… none of that bothers you…
Because you are there to win….
And as you get onto that track… you start warming up….
and inside you are feeling loose… and relaxed…
And everything is prepared… and you are fit and strong…. and all that training …. all that preparation… is coming back to you … you feel totally composed…. completely at ease… completely relaxed… and ready for what is to come.

Winston Salem RoadRunners – 7.20.14 (Ryan O’Reilly – NHL)

The Winston Salem RoadRunners made a stop by the studio last night for what is becoming our regular Sunday night practice together.  The boys had a busy weekend as they were in Durham Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a track meet.  I had some wonderful news relayed to me about some PR’s (Personal Records), first place finishes and even some yoga moves after races (which naturally I was extremely proud of!).  So after such a busy weekend, you’d think they’d have a tough time getting motivated to do a little yoga, right?  Wrong!  They ate it up!  I was so impressed with how the boys came in (and yes, they were goofy … but we’re all goofy … you just have to embrace it!) and were ready to stretch out some tight hamstrings, calves, and other muscle groups.  We’ll have one more practice together before they had out to Iowa next week for a national track event.  Below is the focus and meditation that we used last night.  As we continue to use popular athletes as our focus, we talked about Ryan O’Reilly of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

Avs forward Ryan O’Reilly is big into yoga!

  Excerpts from the Article.

“It’s by far the toughest training, and best training, I do,” O’Reilly said. “I could go on and on about what it’s done for me, but if you look at injury-wise, preventing injuries, it’s a huge thing.”

O’Reilly, who tries to practice yoga at least twice a week, about 75 minutes at a time, has missed only 10 NHL games since signing with the Avs in 2009 at age 18. 

“In yoga, it’s not like you’re lifting weights and just building muscle mass. You’re working all the fibers, all the tissue. A lot of times guys get hurt (playing hockey) because they’re extended and don’t have that strength and flexibility,” O’Reilly said. “Yoga is the teacher of strength and flexibility, and it activates everything.”

“Controlling your breath is a huge benefit for me,” O’Reilly said. “When you do yoga classes, you’re so present in every little detail inside your body. And when I play hockey, I try to do the same thing — especially after a bad shift. I try to come back to my breath, inhale and exhale, and that brings you back into the moment. I’m like, ‘OK, I’m recovered. What am I going to do now?’ “

Winston Salem RoadRunners – 7.16.14 (German National Soccer Team)

It was another great night with the Winston Salem RoadRunners!  The group of five boys that I am working with are really doing a great job.  With the age ranges from 11-16, it is really impressive how they can focus during savasana.  As much as we are working to increase flexibility, strength and start to gain a sense of balance through understanding their center of gravity, the ability to focus is extremely important at their age.  They have a track meet this weekend and I’m really interested and excited to see how they do.  Hopefully I can report back after our class on Sunday that they noticed some differences either with their flexibility (prevent injuries before and after races), strength (increase in 50m, 100m relays) and have a better sense of their body in the starting blocks.  Taking yoga to athletes is a big passion of mine and I’m extremely excited that the Winston Salem RoadRunners have partnered with Yoga Mindset and allowed me to work with the boys.  Can’t wait to hear how this weekend goes!  Last class we brought up Calvin Johnson and how the Detroit Lions use yoga with their players for the above reasons.  Tonight we talked about the German Men’s National Soccer Team.  Check out the article below and the meditation we used tonight.  Thanks for reading!

German Footballers Turn to Yoga

Balance – the state of having your weight spread evenly so as not to fall.
Balance poses, like tree, eagle and others, strengthen your lower legs and hone your proprioception so you grow more aware of where you body is in space.  The poses also teach a more subtle awareness of your body’s center of gravity in different positions.
In yoga, you’ll move the body through every available direction.  Sometimes you’ll be standing, sometimes you’ll be upside down.  Your perspectives will change, and you’ll get a fuller sense of your body and what it can do.
Sports are goal-oriented.  In your workouts, games and races, you aim to cover a distance, to achieve a time, to beat the competition, or to reach a certain speed or heart rate – doing something.  Yoga instead emphasizes the process – being in the present moment.  Think of it as a mental recovery workout.

BOOK – “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga” by Sage Rountree.