Here at Hoops we’re committed to bringing you the most informative and motivational content possible – after all, we want you to love sport as much as we do! But we don’t know everything. So we’re going to be enlisting the help of regular columnists to help us fill in the gaps. And to kick things off, we’re delighted to welcome personal trainer and fitness model Brigita Bonas.
Regardless of the level or frequency of your workouts, I’m a big believer that yoga can play a massive role in helping you to get the results that you want from your fitness regime.
Whether you’re looking to pile on the muscle mass or just trying to keep yourself lean, incorporating yoga into your routine can increase flexibility, improve energy flow and work to ward off injuries.
Of course, you can use yoga as a means to an end in itself, and there are hundreds of different varieties to choose from.
But I find that using a small number of my favourite postures after I’ve finished in the gym leaves me feeling healthy and energised.
I generally split my workouts into three groups: chest and triceps, back and biceps and legs and shoulders.
Depending on what I’ve been exercising, I’ll select two or three postures to warm down with.
Check out the gallery below to see what I use, when.
Why is it beneficial?
Yoga has loads of benefits – more than it would be practical to list here – ranging from meditative mental health improvement to core strength and muscular toning.
But if we’re talking specifically about using yoga as a warm down after an intensive work-out, it takes on a different function.
Typically, gym sessions or cardiovascular exercises such as running or cycling focus on specific muscle groups, putting them under intense pressure while leaving other areas of the body relatively unworked.
Yoga is low intensity exercise, and the stretching releases tension from muscles, while restoring balance by working several muscle groups.
The release of tension improves muscular range and flexibility, which can both improve your performance if you are training for sport, and safeguard you from injury.
“But I’m not flexible enough?”
Yoga may seem like a daunting prospect – but don’t pay too much attention to Instagram accounts, there’s more to it than seemingly impossible feats of flexibility!
However, some postures may be out of reach when you first start.
Yoga is something that you have to work at. Don’t push it too far, your body will have natural limits, going beyond these could result in injury.
One way to get fast results could be to sign up for Bikram yoga classes. In Bikram yoga you perform a series of 26 postures (or asanas) in a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius. This loosens your muscles and make it easier for you to reach the limits of your flexibility.
Read more about Brigita and the work she does here.
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