THE reasoning behind this weekend’s focus on yoga stems from something I am seeing more and more of in our clients and among athletes. The real topic of discussion is movement dysfunction in the physically active.

Movement dysfunction can present itself in many different forms. Cross-training – including weightlifting, running, gymnastic exercise, combat sports – requires you to test the limits of not only strength, skill, and capacity, but also movement. If you cannot squat keeping your torso upright with your arms directly above your head, you will never be able to snatch or overhead squat heavy loads safely. If you cannot even get your arms directly overhead without breaking into excessive lumbar extension (lower back arch), then don’t even think about pressing a heavy weight over your head unless compressing your lumbar discs is the desired outcome.

If you can’t dynamically lift your leg above waist height then those 200 kicks you throw a week at Muay Thai practice will leave you in a stiff mess at the end of the week.

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Movement dysfunction can be addressed in many ways and has been in the limelight recently with movement specialists such as Ido Portal working with athletes and movie stars. Yoga is a great start for those who show immediate signs of dysfunction. Its practice dates back hundreds of thousands of years and centres on controlling both body and mind.

Yoga incorporates various muscular contractions with specific breathing and movement patterns which can yield improvements in flexibility, mobility and strength. It also has a calming effect that leaves you feeling more relaxed and focused. Just what we need given our hectic lifestyles.

Learn from an expert

With every yoga session you attend, you are working with a fully qualified professional, in the same way that you work with your personal trainer or your coach. Following a YouTube video can be a great start will never provide the feedback required to help with your own goals.

Feed off the energy of the class

Benefit from being in a group atmosphere and you will soon find that most people struggle with similar movement dysfunctions, so never think that you will be “too out of shape” or “not flexible enough” to join in.

Learn something new

Your first Yoga class is just as humbling as the first time you stepped into the gym, or signed up to learn a new sport. There is nothing more rewarding and self-fulfilling then seeing progress in something that you do. Just like anything you have ever dedicated time towards, the more you commit, the more reward you will reap. You’ll be thanking your yoga instructor when you see the carry-over to your sport, training or daily life.

Relax and recover

Training, at our gym, involves moving fast at high intensity, but in order to cultivate results you must also cultivate rest. We always recommend that you should be recovering as hard as you train. Being able to relax deeply helps you come back with more power, focus and determination, because you’ve had ample time to recover. Incorporating yoga practices into your training week on an active recovery day, is a great way to help ensure you are ready to roll for your next day of training.

On this note, ask yourself how much time and energy you dedicate towards restorative practices? An easy way to relate this would be to assign 10 minutes of restorative practice per hour you train. So if you hit the gym five hours per week, you now owe your body 50 minutes of yoga, massage, sauna or gentle cardiovascular training. For longevity in health and training, the importance of restorative practice should never be overlooked. It’s time that you stopped grimacing in pain every time you squat, fighting through pain every time you put a bar over your head, making that groaning noise when you sit up or get out of bed and started addressing your movement quality to keep you active for the long haul.

* We run yoga practises every Wednesday at 7am and 7.15pm with our awesome and super-knowledgeable instructor, Philippa. For more information drop us an email or give us a call to join the class.