Yoga binds together the body, mind and spirit; it draws all aspects of self into harmony.

YOGA 101

Yoga is the best all round exercise you can give yourselves, and at Yoga Warrior we provide an exciting blend of athletically challenging poses that will give you the perfect workout.

It is practiced through asanas or poses which are capable of creating a vigorous, healthy body, well-functioning inner organs and an alert mind. Classical yoga is a philosophical system that has its roots in India, and ‘yoga’ is a Sanskrit (the scriptural language of ancient India) word, which means “to yoke” or “to unite”. The body and mind are strengthened by combining yoga poses with yogic breathing techniques or pranayama. Holding the poses we learn to link the mind’s intentions with the body’s movements and the breath.

Even introducing yoga into your life on just a weekly basis offers a respite to free the mind and body from stress and releases blockages in the muscular, nervous and glandular systems.

From an athlete’s perspective, hard training can give you a well-muscled body but it can lead to tightness and inflexibility unless regular stretching like yoga is included. Shortened muscles can cause a gradual loss of muscle elasticity as well as a decline in the flexibility of your joints, and both of these will limit the body’s physical power and range of motion.

Yoga stretching can increase the flexibility of a joint by 10 to 20% and muscular flexibility and strength will prevent many injuries and pulls.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA

  • Develops flexibility, strength and stamina
  • Tones and stretches muscles
  • Alleviates back and neck pain
  • Detoxifies internal organs – the body is oxygenated and filled with healthy blood, decongested and restored
  • Improves breathing and lung capacity, which is beneficial for asthmatics
  • Improves metabolism and elimination, and is helpful for constipation
  • Reduces stress by normalising cortisol (stress hormone) levels
  • Assists in weight reduction and control,
  • Aids in lowering blood pressure
  • Can alleviate menstrual problems
  • Eases insomnia and anxiety

Sports Yoga

Yoga gives you range of motion in all the joints of the body as it is a fully integral workout for the entire body. Whatever your sport you’ve got some overworked muscles in the body. Yoga practice strengthens the muscles that are underused and releases the muscles that are overworked from your particular sport. Taking cycling for example, the repetitive isolated movement through the knee joint can cause injuries whether you’re a spinner, road or mountain cyclist, while yoga can make your joints and body more flexible by 10 – 20%. A by-product of this integral workout is that the body trains as a connective unit. Particular yoga postures teach the student that every limb and muscle of the body are integral to the posture. This produces an athlete fully in their body; using its machine with the understanding of how each screw and function contributes to the whole.

 

Yoga is excellent for building core strength, because it involves moving the body in various directions and angles through postures requiring stability and balance, often in an unusual relationship to gravity. The key is flexible strength, and that’s what yoga develops. Too many people still think abdominal training is doing crunches, which does nothing for flexibility. If you just train for strength, your muscles can actually shorten. And if you train in only one direction, you’re limiting your range of motion.

 

It prevents injuries or can facilitate a quicker recovery time when injured. It is often an injury that leads people in to their very first yoga class following their physiotherapist recommending it as a form of healing. Ironically regular attendance at yoga could have prevented the injury in the first place. Contracted and hard trained muscles often lack elasticity, the muscle tear that goes hand in hand with hard training can eventually take its toll and cause an injury that puts the athlete out of action for a few weeks. A regular yoga practice can keep the muscles and joints healthy and flexible, making time invested in yoga not a luxury but an essential part of any training schedule.

It heightens concentration and focus. This can be the edge in your performance. The mindfulness that yoga provides can enhance any aspect of your life; it teaches you how to be in the present moment, fully. The focus on the breath is integral to this mindfulness.  Every movement in yoga is synchronised with the breath. Since our breath is the only thing that is truly in the present moment, focusing entirely on it leaves you plumb in the middle of now.

Even introducing yoga into your life on just a weekly basis offers a respite to free the mind and body from stress and releases blockages in the muscular, nervous and glandular systems.

From an athlete’s perspective, hard training can give you a well-muscled body but it can lead to tightness and inflexibility unless regular stretching like yoga is included. Shortened muscles can cause a gradual loss of muscle elasticity as well as a decline in the flexibility of your joints, and both of these will limit the body’s physical power and range of motion.

Yoga stretching can increase the flexibility of a joint by 10 to 20% and muscular flexibility and strength will prevent many injuries and pulls.

Benefits of sports yoga for cyclists

  • A sequence of key Yoga poses provides cyclists with all-round conditioning that help alleviate the after-effects of riding, strengthening the core to protect the lower back and lengthening the spine to relieve tightness.
  • The core work, integral to most yoga poses, assists in maintaining a smooth steady position on the bike, avoiding the sideways rocking which wastes energy.
  • It also helps in maintaining stability in the body and protecting the lower back from strain, particularly important for longer rides.
  • Breathing techniques and back extensions acquired through yoga practice will facilitate deeper inhalations and enhanced performance. The breath-work creates physical and mental calmness by controlling and manipulating the breath, which also helps maintain even, controlled breathing during prolonged or intense training. 

Testimonials

“I came to Clara’s Yoga Warrior beginner class as a complete novice having never done a downward facing dog before. Almost a year later of semi-regular attendance I still don’t experience the ‘ og’ as a resting position, but I can survive an intermediate class. I enjoy the meditative quality and quiet exertion of Clara’s classes and appreciate her calm, interactive teaching style.”

Melinda Shaw, Editor, Heat Magazine

 

“When people ask me what I’ll be doing with my time when I retire next year, I tell them that I will be practicing yoga.”

Nandi Mokhele, Liberty Life

 

“Since I have been doing yoga classes with internationally trained yoga instructor Clara Simper, I feel marvellous. I sleep better at night and I am able to perform better at work as I am more alert. I find with the stresses of work and traffic, Clara’s yoga lessons relax me, my spirits are high, and it certainly improves my mood. I find the different yoga poses help stretch different parts of my body such as my back. My hands have also become stronger and my legs feel stretched and relaxed. Thanks Clara for being so great and patient and for helping me feel good about myself.”

Nondumiso Skosana, Research Consultant, Woodburn Mann

 

“My yoga experience through Yoga Warrior was fantastic. The convenience of having personalised classes at my own home was of immense importance as it fitted into my busy schedule. I also found the experience to be exactly tailored to my needs and ability. I achieved greatly improved flexibility, fitness and peace of mind.”

Matt Jack, Investment Banker, Investec

 

“I tried yoga to cross train for my running (i.e. stretch, build upper body strength), because I am keen to exercise after dark in Joburg (the only other option for me is the monotony of gym), and as a way to de-stress. Fast forward ten months and I am still enjoying yoga. Did I achieve the above? Yes, and more, e.g. better balance and suppleness, improved body awareness, new friends. I can touch my toes (as a part-time runner!). Yoga is now a necessary part of my life. Do the math. Think outside the box. Do Yoga Warrior.”

Francois Gouws, Control Engineer, Sasol