Liz Richards has been running her popular Yoga for Runners & Athletes Courses at The Ananta Yoga Studios, The Tap, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow for four years in association with members of The East Coast Tri- Club and Iron Man Training along with other local sports clubs and individuals who prefer a class with a sports focus. Here she outlines what athletes can expect from her yoga class which starts Friday Sept 11th 2015…
Many athletes and regular sports enthusiasts are turning to yoga as a means to alleviate and prevent the often negative effects of other sporting activities on the body – such as painful ankles, knees, hips & lower back – tight hamstrings, calf muscles & shoulders.
I have worked closely with several top athletes who are competing at national and international level to help improve their breathing techniques, strength, flexibility, stamina and mental focus. My yoga class is also attended by students involved in a diverse range of other activities such as rugby, football, tennis, golf, running, swimming, cycling and equestrian sports all whom have reported a significant improvement in their athletic performance and enjoyment of their chosen sport.
In these specialised classes, the primary focus is on injury prevention, performance enhancement and developing mental clarity. Yoga is the perfect way to counteract the effects of other sports on the body. It is one of the few activities that takes the body through its full range of movement each time it is practiced when in a well structured and planned class.
Students learn how to protect the areas of the body which are vulnerable in many sports such as the ankles, knees, hips and lower back, through correct alignment and engagement of the three platforms or stabilising junctions of the body. The joints become more open, muscles are gently stretched and the body generally becomes more free.
Using both static and dynamic classical yoga postures and specific breathing techniques in an intelligently sequenced class, athletes are often surprised at the many physical and mental benefits a regular yoga practice has to offer.
No Previous Yoga Experience Needed
These classes are suitable for those with no previous yoga experience as the Vinyasa Krama (intelligent sequencing/step by step) system used facilitates the cultivation of a gradual, safe and strong practice using fundamental building blocks and a progressive approach – each class will build on the previous one. This work – although gently paced – is not necessarily easy however and the classes can prove to be challenging both mentally and physically! For this reason – it is not recommended to drop in and out of a course of yoga classes such as this. It is necessary to commit to the full course in order to receive the benefits that this ancient practice has to offer.
It is important to understand that the practice of Classical Yoga is a discipline – not a quick fix or another exercise class. It is a discipline that ultimately uses the tangible, external, physical body to quieten the mind and senses through the practice and integration of classical Yoga Asana (Postures), Breathing Techniques (Pranayama), and Sense Withdrawal (Pratyahara).
A regular and disciplined practice tones, sculpts and cleanses the body from the inside whilst cultivating strength, flexibility, stamina & a quiet focused mind simultaneously. The profound & positive changes that occur on every level – and which can be experienced even after the first two or three classes – are what make yoga a very different form of exercise than regular fitness or gym classes.
With classical Hatha Yoga we are not just dealing with the external physical body but the entire integration of mind, body and breath on a physical, psychological, energetic, emotional and spiritual level. There are many fitness classes which include and incorporate yoga postures – sometimes fused with pilates or other workout poses – often to loud music and practiced at a fast pace. While this style of class may be fun and an effective way to keep fit – it is not yoga in the traditional sense and does not adhere to the very ancient, well tried out and trusted philosophical & scientific approach which is Classical Hatha Yoga. It is important to know the difference.
The next six week course of Yoga for Runners & Athletes with Liz Richards at The Ananta Yoga Studios, Wicklow, commences on Friday 11th September 7.30 – 9.00pm. Six weeks – €75.
Booking is essential – For further info/ bookings please contact Liz Richards 086 8963425
For more about The Ananta Yoga Studios and Classes/Courses for Autumn 2015 please visit www.anantayogastudio.com
Booking Essential for all classes – Contact Liz Richards on (086) 8963425
Yoga mats, yoga bricks & blocks, yoga straps etc. are available at The Sports Room.