Whether you're new to yoga or looking to power up your routine, we have pointers to make your practice thrive. Gwen Lawrence works with a variety of professional athletes, including star players from the New York Giants and Yankees, to help them improve their performance. Find out how yoga can take your workout to the next level.
Q: Can you talk about the benefits of yoga for athletes?
A: It's definitely going to reduce the incidents of injury because any time your joints are more mobile and free and not as stiff, it's going to put less pressure on them. It not only works their flexibility and strength, which equal power, but their focus, concentration, and breathing techniques. It trains them to open up their lungs and breathe, so they have more lung capacity and can stay on the field a little bit longer.
Q: Why is proper breathing so important in yoga?
A: You really need to oxygenate the body to feed and bring enough blood to the muscles. Training my clients to breathe in and out through the nose is of number one importance. I recommend doing nasal rinses with Afrin PureSea to keep the respiratory tract very clear and open.
Q: What should people look for in a yoga studio or teacher?
A: You want to look for a teacher who has at least 200 hours of training. You can go to YogaAlliance.org and look through their registry. Then you know it's a properly trained teacher, because there are a lot of weekend certifications out these days, which is bad news.
Q: Are there easy ways for people to practice yoga at home?
A: I think if you're just starting, it's a good idea to practice with a teacher a few times. Then you can investigate on the Internet. There are also great videos out there that you can use at home. I think home practice is probably the most successful. Just sneak it in there whenever you can.
Q: Do you have a favorite pose you can recommend?
A: Pigeon pose is a great one because it releases deep hip and hip flexor tension. Hips are the storage depot for stress, trauma, fear and anxiety from childhood. It's a big release to get into some deep hip openers. Plus, it's a safe and comfortable pose.