Yoga and swimming are two powerful workout regimens that complement each other. Both these fitness forms allow you to experience your inner self completely. The sole difference – you swim in water and practice yoga on land!
Practicing yoga can prove to be beneficial for professional swimmers and for those who take up the sport as a cardio workout.
Here are 5 reasons why every swimmer should practice yoga:
- Strengthens your core, shoulders, arms, chest, and hips
- Improves your flexibility
- Enhances and boosts stamina
- Helps in improving your focus and concentration
- Aids in restoring and rejuvenating your energy levels
Top Yoga Asana for Swimmers
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog
To start, come to your hands and knees. Place your hands firmly to the ground, tuck your toes under and rise to Down Dog. Slowly stretch the back and the legs first. Draw the shoulder blades towards the spine and actively try to lower them, rotating your upper arms outwards. Focus on having your spine straight and aim your tailbone towards the sky. Bend your knees if you need to in order to keep length in the spine.
- Helps in stretching and strengthening your hands, arches, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves
- Renders a new level of energy
- Eases tension, stress, and anxiety
- Helps you to calm down and invigorate yourself
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog
Begin by laying on your stomach and place your hands next to your shoulders. Pressing your hands and the tops of the feet to the ground, start lifting yourself up with an inhale so that your upper body and thighs come off the floor. Keep the arms rotating outwards, and the thighs inwards.
Be mindful that your shoulders are not tensed and that you are not hanging on the shoulders. As in Down Dog, keep your shoulder blades close to your spine, and draw them downwards so that you don’t hang on your shoulders. Keep your neck neutral.
- Opens up your chest and shoulders, easing stiffness
- Stretches and tones core and hips
- Elongates the spine and back
- Strengthens lower back
- Renders stronger arms, wrists, and shoulders
- Improves your posture
- Tones your hips
- Eases sciatica
- Alleviates stress and anxiety
Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Start by lying on your stomach, and bring your hands next to your body. Bring the heels close to your buttocks and take hold of your ankles. Keep your feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, press into your hands with your feet, lift up your legs and chest, arching your back. Remember to keep the shoulder blades close to the spine.
- Stretches and strengthens thighs, ankles, abdomen, chest, groin, hip flexors, and neck
- Eases back pain
- Improves posture
- Tones and strengthens your back and core
Setu Bhandasana – Bridge Pose
Lie on your back. Fold your knees and keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor, 10-12 inches from your pelvis, with knees and ankles in a straight line. Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing down. Inhaling, slowly lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor; gently roll in the shoulders; touch the chest to the chin without bringing the chin down, supporting your weight with your shoulders, arms and feet. Feel your bottom firm up in this pose. Both the thighs are parallel to each other and to the floor. If you wish, you could interlace the fingers and push the hands on the floor to lift the torso a little more up, or you could support your back with your palms.
- Strengthens the back muscles
- Relieves the tired back instantaneously
- Gives a good stretch to the chest, neck and spine
- Calms the brain, reducing anxiety, stress and depression
- Opens up the lungs and reduces thyroid problems
- Helps improve digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual pain
- Helpful in asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
Salabhasana – Locust Pose
Begin lying on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Inhale and raise your head to look forward. On your exhale, lift your chest and arms. Keep your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down. Lift your upper spine and reach your arms back toward your feet. Use your inner thighs to lift your legs up toward the ceiling. Reach straight back through the balls of your feet. Your weight should rest on your lower ribs, belly, and front pelvis. Keep your chest lifted as you widen across your collarbones. Draw your shoulder blades into your back ribs and extend them away from each other.
- For a stronger back and core
- Lengthens limbs and body and aligns it
- Stretches and tones chest, belly, thighs, and shoulders
- Improves your posture
- Stimulates and strengthens abdominal muscles
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Lie on your stomach and place your forehead on the floor. Place your hands underneath your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body. Draw your shoulder blades back and down, and try to maintain this throughout the pose. Draw your pubic bone towards the floor to stabilize your lower back, and press your feet actively onto the floor. With the next inhale, start lifting your head and chest off the floor. Be mindful of opening the chest, and don’t place all of your weight onto your hands. Keep the elbows lightly bent and keep the back muscles working.
- Strengthens your spine and lower back
- Stretches, strengthens, and tones chest, shoulder, lungs, and core
- Helps in improving your posture
- Eases out fatigue and stress
- Enhances the functioning of lungs and heart and improves breathing capacity and blood circulation
- Soothes and heals back pain and sciatica