Being an athlete means a life filled with different types of sport specific training, as well as complementary training like strength training. On top of that there might be a full time job and a family. The importance of getting some recovery work in that busy schedule is something athletes are fully aware of, but also often neglect, due to time.
But what if I gave you one pose to do every day, that would make a huge impact on your body? A pose you can practice anytime of the day. No days off.
If you only have time for one pose, do the Squat.
Squat pose involves many of the joint stabilizers in the ankles, knees and hips. It also does wonder for your low back and the thoracolumbar fascia. Retain and improve mobility in these joints will result in injury prevention, and over time lead to greater ROM (range of motion), which in itself also is about preventing injuries. Now even though yin yoga doesn´t mean that we always aim for greater ROM, it sure is about maintaining our ROM, to be better athletes. Just think of the climber, needing to maintain ROM in the hip joints, to be able to keep the body close to the wall as the hip joints/legs move into flexion and external rotation. Or the ice hockey player in need of getting great extension in the legs as they push their legs on the ice, moving fast forward. Or the runner, who will be in the risk of injury of the hip joints are stiff, which will lead to problems down in the knees, and up along the spine.
Squatting is also #1 pose to do for the office athlete. Take a paus during the day at your office, and squat.
And while your squatting, watch “the poo speech” with Julian Baker.
How to do it
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees to lower into a squat. Allow your feet to be placed in a way that supports your body. There´s not one way to do this, and no picture perfect pose. If your heals doesn´t touch the floor, place a towel under your feet. Your elbows are in front of your knees. You don´t have to clasp your fingers around your head like the picture. Allow your hands to rest on the floor in front of you is a good version.
No days off
Do this pose every day, for 10 minutes. Minutes that can be spread over your day, meaning a few minutes in the morning (perfect warm up exercise pre- sports training), a few minutes after training (perfect pre- and post- run stretch) and a few minutes in the evening. You could even do it in front of the TV if you prefer.
Most important, no days off.