“Yoga exists in the world because everything is linked.” – Desikashar
At Pure Health Performance, we are big believers in mobility (as you may have noticed). We offer weekly yoga classes for our athletes as well as the Bartlesville community because we believe that the flexibility, mental calm, and breathing techniques learned in a personal yoga practice can translate directly into better form and higher performance in our Intro Strength and Oly classes.
Today we’re going to offer a mini flow from our yoga instructor, Kaleigh, that focuses on increased flexibility in the shoulders, thoracic spine, forearms, and wrists that will help open up any Olympic lifter and improve flexibility in both the front rack and overhead position. If you’re intimidated or feel like you can’t do these postures because of lack of flexibility, we encourage you to remember that yoga is a personal practice and that started where you are and working regularly on problem areas will increase that flexibility–you just have to be patient! Now, take a look at this short video and check out below for an exploration of the postures!
For a closer look at each posture:
Begin in a Child’s Pose. Child’s Pose is a restorative pose used often throughout a yoga practice as a point of rest and relaxation for the practitioner. Here, we return to Child’s Pose between almost every posture, using it as a transition. Here we want to drive our hips toward the ground, allowing our arms to stretch out in front of us.
Pressing forward, we tilt our hips toward the sky, applying downward pressure and opening up our shoulders as we press our chests toward the floor. This posture is known as Puppy Pose and is a variation of Downward Facing Dog. You will see Kaleigh sinking a little further into the pose as she gets more comfortable, increasing the stretch in the thoracic spine and working on what will translate into overhead mobility.
From here, she adds a shoulder stretch but “threading” her left arm underneath her right and applying downward pressure on her arm to increase the stretch. She then repeats the process on the left side. This can also be done from Child’s Pose, however keeping the hips high will increase the pressure and therefore the depth of the stretch.
She then returns to Child’s Pose as a transition.
Pressing up onto her hands, she points her fingertips toward the front of her mat with her shoulders stacked over her wrists. From here, she rocks forward, backward, and from side to side twice which focuses on increasing wrist mobility. This is useful for anyone working on their front rack position or getting into position for a jerk.
She repeats this process twice, the first time with her wrists side-by-side and her fingers pointed away from each other (toward the sides of the mat) and then again with her fingers pointed towards her body. This may initially be difficult depending on your wrist flexibility, but continued practice will allow you to place your hands flat on the mat in no time!
She returns to Child’s Pose for transition before curling her toes under and pressing up into Downward Facing Dog. Here, her hips are pressed toward the sky, shoulders are pulled down and away from her ears. The goal is to drive the heels toward the mat (you may need to walk your feet in a little in order to really flatten those heels) and to keep the head tucked “below” the line created from your fingertips to your hips. Driving your chest toward the mat should help increase that overhead mobility necessary for the Snatch position in Oly lifting.
Finally, she returns to Child’s Pose for rest and relaxation.
Again, these postures are focused on increased mobility for the Front Rack in a Clean and the Overhead position in a Snatch. Kaleigh moves through these movements pretty quickly for demonstration purposes, but it is always wise to hold each pose for 6-10 breaths to allow for a deeper stretch. Feel free to practice on your own or join us for Yoga on Monday nights from 7-7:45 PM or every other Saturday from 9-10 AM.