Yoga for Performance? Yes, YOU Athletes, Adventures and Operators.

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The Plan

So, you want to be a high performer huh? You want that heavy bar bending back squat and deadlift? You envision yourself climbing the final part of the ascent on Longs Peak with views of jagged ridgelines and deep valleys.  You see yourself at Camp Mackall or the Appalachian Mountains with your map and compass out scanning for that final point before time runs out. You watch the motivational YouTube videos, search the web for whatever new buzz word fitness programming has been released and research the newest fad diet.  You have your plan and you’re all set. Eat, lift, sleep and get big. Repeat. Tight hamstrings, lower back pain and achy shoulders? It will go away after you warm up and hit those heavy overhead squats. Cramping up and feeling sluggish? Can’t take a break, you’re almost to the summit.  Active recovery day? Sweet, hit a ruck run for 8 miles with a 75-pound bag.  Now it’s game day and it’s time to perform but a few days or even hours in and you’re out of the arena due to an injury.  Does this sound familiar? It does to us at Compass Rose Yoga and Evolution Athletics (EAX). We understand the train as you fight mentality while preparing for a rigorous goal that entails high amounts of mental stress and physical exertion.

EAX

The Secret

We want to let you in on a little secret. The high performers and the best of the best aren’t spending seven days a week hitting only the weights or the trails. These individuals are focusing on several aspects of being the best version of themselves and they understand the importance of recovery. Each high performing athlete and operator has their own way of conducting mental and physical recovery because they understand the need for balance. They focus not on their strengths, but on the little things that need improvement. They focus on recovery and maintaining the machine.  You can tell by the way they check their gear before a mission, how they warm up before working out and what they do immediately after a workout.  There is a difference between giving 100% and operating at 100%. You can give 100% but mentally and physically be operating at about 60%.  Over training your body and not addressing physical imbalances will eventually take you off your feet and end the momentum abruptly. As a Crossfit coach at EAX, an active duty soldier in austere environments, and a Yoga Studio owner I get to see Yin and Yang. Those who are doing the right thing and succeed and those who aren’t. I am no hypocrite. A recovery-based mind set is not my strong suit and I am the first to come up with something else I would rather be doing. Often, recovery is boring and easy to speed through, which is why I and many others alike have incorporated hot yoga into our recovery routine.

Yoga

Hot Yoga?

Yes. Hot Yoga. Like a bunch of super flexible females in yoga pants chanting and talking about spirituality? Or super feminine males who need to eat? No. Kind of but no… not here at Compass Rose Yoga. Everyone attends yoga for various reasons and prospers from the many health benefits it provides. To many, yoga is the only form of fitness in which they partake in and there is nothing wrong with that. Some enjoy yoga for the physical aspect, some for the mental aspect and some use it to supplement recovery. Deadlifting five hundred pounds does not benefit someone who solely practices yoga to in order to master each pose the best they can. Likewise, being super flexible and bendy does not benefit a powerlifter or strongman competitor. We love all our Yogis and don’t care as to which reason you attend our classes. This article is for those looking to incorporate yoga into their recovery routine but might be intimidated. Here at Compass Rose Yoga we attempt to create an atmosphere that’s friendly to all.

Unless you’re involved in some type of Crossfit or multi-functional fitness (athleticism based), most athletes focus on one plane movements and train their major muscle groups. Eventually, the smaller muscles and core stabilizing muscles do not fire as they should and require the larger muscle groups to take over eventually leading to imbalances, injury and sub-par performance, etc.  Hot yoga is one way to strengthen those stabilizing muscles, prevent injury and increase multi-plane functionality. Yoga forces athletes to utilize stabilizing muscles by placing them in poses that requires patterns of movement previously ignored. This leads to strength in the hips, pelvis, lumbar, spine, and abdomen all in which are required to operate at 100%.

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Hot Yoga continued.

Most yoga sessions are a series of focused isometric contractions paired with breathing that improve flexibility, mobility, and strength. What I heard was injury prevention and a better squat.  You will not yield the same results by simply static stretching. Yoga classes consist of a “flow” with dedicated poses (movements) that strengthen and lengthen your muscles and helps soft tissue. Having trouble sitting at the bottom of the squat because of your ankle dorsiflexion or lack of? We have something for you. Have a tight lower back when you run? We have just the pose for you. Mentally exhausted and having negative thoughts before you step into the arena? Compass Rose Yoga has you covered. Ok so.. why the heat? Practicing yoga in a heated room kindles the lymphatic system which is accountable for flushing out toxins from your system. Think of it as detoxification due to sweating. As your muscles and connective tissue become warm, they also become more elastic allowing for a safer and deeper stretch without injury. A Yin Yoga class or Restorative Yoga class is highly recommend for those looking to improve their recovery.

Let’s Get Flexy

Being a high performer requires one to focus on the less exciting tasks of human performance which includes the often-ignored recovery routine. The best of the best focus on all aspects of training and utilizes a multi-faceted approach that paves the way for success. Hot yoga is one of the many ways to fix imbalances and reduce injury for those undergoing the rigors of sharpening the axe. Remember, giving 100% is different than operating at 100%.  Compass Rose Yoga encourages each Yogi to live a life off the mat and take their fitness to places others wont. Stay true to your north and don’t forget to master the basics.

Brandon Ferra, Owner

 

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