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Incorporating Yoga?
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Hi all,

Sorry if this has been asked before and I just missed the thread, but: what is your stance on incorporating yoga into your training?


I ask because I've gotten conflicting advice from a couple different sources. I've been told that yoga is bad because it can overstretch ligaments and lead to injury, but I've also been told that yoga is a great supplement to endurance sports because it builds strength, lubricates joints, and calms my poor, spazzed-out monkey brain.

Do you incorporate yoga as part of your training? If so, how?

Background --> I've been casually working with a local coach as I try to get the ball rolling on doing a couple late-summer sprint/oly races. She knows my whole history -- used to train for several races a year, got injured, got a job (in that order), stopped all but casual running for several years -- and is trying to help me build back first strength, then endurance. But when I mentioned that I felt like I'd picked up a lot of strength from doing yoga for the last year (thanks pandemic!) she basically told me that I should consider quitting yoga. She actually agreed that I was pretty strong and that the bodyweight elements of yoga had probably helped me gain a lot of upper-body strength, but her concern was that I am "too flexible" and that too much flexibility can lead to injury.

Thoughts? And many thanks!

Slow and steady doesn't actually win any races, but it's the only speed I've got.
Last edited by: fyrberd: May 11, 21 7:37
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Re: Incorporating Yoga? [fyrberd] [ In reply to ]
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Hi! Tri coach and yogi here.

What the heck?

There is nothing in any sort of literature out there that says yoga will "overbend" you. Yoga is a practice that you take to whatever level your body and mind need. It is fantastic core work and balance work for every major muscle group in the body. It's a beneficial supplement to any training program (as is strength training). Muscles need to be in balance to keep the body healthy and happy (read: injury-free). we do that by stretching overused muscles and strengthening underused muscles. Everything we do in tri is in the same plane of motion, and we need to strengthen the other muscles for lateral and transverse movement to stay healthy, and yoga is a great way to do a lot of that work.

Personally, I do two yoga sessions each week. My Tuesday session is an advanced flow class (challenging and quick flow between asanas, arm balances, backbends, inversions, etc) and my Thursday class is a restorative class (holding poses for a longer period of time to recalibrate muscles). My Tuesday session is after swim (I like to combine swim with strength work on training days) and my Thursday session is after swim and a tough bike ride (when I need to chill and stretch).

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Re: Incorporating Yoga? [Dr_Cupcake] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for this!

I was a bit confused by the advice, as she likewise mentioned moving in different planes and making an effort to build strength to move laterally, which yoga does. Her main concern seemed to be hypermobility and too much flexibility, which I guess can be detrimental, but I'm not exactly a contortionist over here, so I don't see what the problem is.

That said, I also only do about one vinyasa class a week; other classes are either restorative or a special "yoga for athletes" flow-type class. I max out at three per week, with two classes being more the norm.

Again, I appreciate your perspective, and feel encouraged to keep finding that balance (as it were) between training and yoga. Thanks again!

Slow and steady doesn't actually win any races, but it's the only speed I've got.
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Re: Incorporating Yoga? [fyrberd] [ In reply to ]
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late to reply, but I echo the other comment. I'm a tri coach and a yogi (and will likely be taking yoga instructor classes this fall/winter).

I find yoga to be HUGELY complimentary to triathlon. I personally do a heated flow class on Monday nights (helps with balance, movement, strength, and memory). Then after my big weekend workouts (or even longer weekday runs if I have time) I'll do a 30 minute yin yoga session with the Down Dog app. I feel SO MUCH BETTER having done that 30 minutes of restorative gentle stretching with focused breathing. Like LIGHT YEARS better.

There's also a lot of research out there right now that shows mindfulness practice (yoga, meditation, etc) is HUGELY beneficial to recovery.

So, you have another vote of support in keeping with the yoga. Enjoy!
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Re: Incorporating Yoga? [mountain_erin] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for this! I also always feel better (though slightly shakey (: ) after a heated class, and I do think it's an important part of recovery. I appreciate the vote of support!

Slow and steady doesn't actually win any races, but it's the only speed I've got.
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