Swim Library

Why Swimmers Should Do Yoga

Why Swimmers Should Do Yoga

Waterworks Aquatics offers a wide variety of swim programs for children ages 3 months to adults. These programs include swim lessons, water aerobics, aqua therapy, dives and turns clinics, cross fit, water polo clinics, stroke clinics, and more! Would you believe that yoga is a major benefactor for swimmers? There are several types of yoga, each with unique techniques and ideology, but each just as beneficial as the next. For instance, if you are looking for core strength a more conventional yoga class may be right for you. However if you are looking to increase your flexibility, Bikram Yoga will loosen your joints and allow more flexibility. Believe it or not, yoga is extremely beneficial to swimmers due to the follow reasons:


The most common reason that swimmers will use yoga is to become more flexible.When focusing on mobility in a yoga practice it will increase range of motion and lengthen muscle tissue while stabilizing a joint forming greater integrity and strength.


There are many ways that yoga can be used to develop strength. Core strength is used in any dynamic pose and is part of many static poses. The choice of poses and sequences can also develop both upper body and lower body strength, once again both in a dynamic and static manner. As long as proper movement patterns are followed it is functional strength that is being developed. A yoga program can be designed to use specific movement that is applicable to the sport of swimming.


Yoga is a very effective way to develop body awareness. A yoga practice develops body awareness through having swimmers perform movement patterns that they are unaccustomed to which develops greater variability within the nervous system. Greater body awareness is also developed through the encouragement of bringing specific attention to how the body feels at different points in the practice.


Effortless effort is a term that is used often when teaching yoga. Performing with effort while at the same time as moving with ease is something that is taught very specifically in many yoga practices. Yoga teaches this skill through the use of the breath. Learning to use breath in co-ordination with movement allows us to perform in a much more relaxed state.


A lot of times swimmers find because they have limited mobility due to tight and stiff muscles a yoga class be a struggle. When you add that on top of the demands of the sport it can become too much. There are many different styles and types of yoga because of that reason a practice can be tailored specifically for recovery without any struggle involved, no matter how tight you are. One of the most effective ways to enhance recovery is through restorative yoga. In restorative yoga you use props to support the body in different poses, which in turn encourages and allows the body to let go. This style of yoga will also engage the parasympathetic nervous system which allows the body to recover even more effectively.


By using aspects of yoga that develop mobility, strength, body awareness, ease of movement and recovery a practice can built that is specifically aimed at injury prevention. Therapeutic yoga is an extremely effective way to both prevent as well as rehabilitate many types of injuries and illnesses. As you would do with any dry land program past injuries, strength imbalances and movement deficiencies are taken into consideration when building a practice. Then the practice can be built around addressing all of the above vulnerabilities and needs an athlete may have.


The psychological aspect of both racing and training is incredibly integral to achieving success in swimming. Yoga can be a tool to develop many mental skills. Now let me be clear, I am not talking about chanting, I am not talking about opening your chakras. What I am talking about is learning skills to reduce anxiety before races, monitor and adjust self-talk and visualize. All of which can be transferred to the pool.