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YOGA: Triathlon's 4th Discipline


Hello to all the athletic yogis who have and continue to gain benefit from attending classes with me. To those that have yet to join me on the mat, I hope you do so very soon!

I have been reflecting lately on the many lessons I have learnt over the years from my students & how they have inspired me to drive for deeper knowledge regarding the human body and mind connection & how to enhance the tools yoga delivers to increase athletic performance.

We are well into the 2nd month of a new dedicated yoga for triathletes class and every week I continue to be amazed at the irony of using this magical tool. These athletes, who train tirelessly in 3 very hectic endurance sports, arrive on their mats, ready for me to help teach their bodies & minds in how to become balanced, stretched & strengthened. I teach the opposite of what they push and strive for on a daily basis. I bring in the yin (restorative yoga) to their manic yang (energetic cycling, swimming & running training schedule).

But isn’t this like everything in life? One has to experience the opposite in order to fully understand what balance is all about & how important is to maintain. How can one expect the body to keep healthy and uninjured with consistent pounding & contracting as a result of endurance training without the opposite stretch and release of mind, body & breath that yoga practice fulfils?

I see the tight lower backs, glutes and psoas muscles that prevent deep forwards bends and I can visualise how the cycling stance aggravates this condition, even promoting weakness into the core.

I watch as these athletes struggle to open up their hips in deep lunges and pigeon stretches, this tightness brought about by excessive running. I want to launch into hours of deep poses that will bring relief to the hip flexors, quads, glutes & hamstrings.

I watch as these dedicated athletes struggle with restricted shoulder mobility brought about through the continuous holding of static stances for endless hours.

The more I begin to list the vulnerabilities and potential injuries to which these endurance junkies are exposed, the more passionate I become & the more intense my desire to bring this incredible tool to their worlds.

I will end by asking one question. If you were offered some magical natural, earth bound potion that would boost mental and physical endurance exponentially over time and whose side effects reaped only massive beneficial results, it would not be a question of would you take it, but rather why on earth would you not???

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