Yoga: The fourth discipline for triathletes

Triathletes are rare because they compete at peak levels in three different sports. Training in swimming, biking, and running leaves little time for much else in their busy training schedule.

Stress relief, increased strength, increased durability, increased flexibility, injury prevention and better mind-body awareness are a few of the benefits of having a consistent yoga practice. Yoga supports all three disciplines of triathlons in both the mental and physical aspects.

With triathletes the repetitive, rhythmic motion over the course of a race can be a moving meditation where they can really drop into a headspace that puts you into the zone. Because of the repetitive motions in endurance training, certain muscles can be overworked while certain muscles become underdeveloped. Over time this can lead to muscular imbalances and misalignment that will lead to injury. The physical postures in yoga are designed to floss and take care of every nook and cranny in your body. With a consistent yoga practice you can start to balance out all the muscular imbalances that come from the repetitive motions of triathlons. Increased flexibility will help your posture, decrease pain, lower your risk of injury, and increase potential for power.

Also with a consistent yoga practice you become more conscious of your body. When your body awareness increases you can feel little twinges or tweaks in the body that can signal the beginning of an injury before it puts you out of the race. When you feel what you’re doing with more consciousness you can learn to isolate muscles you need and to relax the ones you don’t need, conserving energy for when you might need it the most at the finish line.

Yoga also imparts finding a sense of ease with all your strength. The goal of yoga is to control the fluctuations of the mind, Patanjali said. Yoga equips you with the tools to gain control of your mind through the practice of presence. Presence, taught through breath and body awareness, will teach you that you are not the negative thoughts or dramatic sensations in the body during the last leg of your race. When we learn to disidentify from our thoughts and sensations we can practice being at ease in our bodies in the midst of a great challenge, and we become very capable of our endeavors.

If you can commit to yoga as the fourth discipline to your training you will equip yourself with tools that provide a handful of advantages over competitors. I firmly believe that if you are not complementing your training with yoga you are competing at a disadvantage.

Join me at the Wilmington Convention Center for FREE Yoga today at 1pm. Bring your mat or borrow one of ours! We’ll meet at inside at the Beach2Battleship packet pickup and move outside for practice.

Not sure if yoga is for you? Try it out for 30 days for just $1 a day.

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