For swimmers, having yoga as part of your regular cross-training routine has become more and more popular over the past decade. In fact, Yoga has shown to have multiple benefits for competitive swimmers – both mental and physical.
We know 2020 has been like any other, and with a lot of yoga studios temporarily closed or featuring extremely limited class size, many of you have switched to taking classes virtually online or via livestream on social media.
Here at SwimOutlet, we have gotten in on the virtual action, too, with the launch of our partner yoga streaming site Practyce.com, featuring multiple classes focused on swimmers and yoga for athletes, alike.
If yoga is something you’re thinking about for this winter and beyond, do it – we can’t recommend it enough; you may also want to consider creating your own home yoga studio or simply setting aside a unique space at home for your practice. You’ll want to build a space that is both calming and inspiring. Setting up a yoga space is special to you and your practice, so here are a few suggestions to get started:
First and foremost, you will need a point of inspiration. Whether it’s the view from your window, a trophy or medal from a swim meet, a memento from one of your favorite trips, or maybe just a sentimental picture or painting – let that piece be the focal point of your space. Without inspiration, you lack an emotional connection to your practice.
Of course, you will need to start with yoga mats. We say “mats” (plural) in case you want to have a friend or partner join you. Select mats in a color and texture that you love, as this serves as the foundation of your practice.
Next, we suggest you have a few props on hand. In yoga, props are perfect for restoration and extra relaxation, but they can also be used to help you fall deeper into a challenging pose. Equip your space with at least two blocks, two straps, and one bolster per person.
After you have the essentials for your practice, create calm energy with mindful-meditation. You can use extra cushions that you have lying around the house, or you may choose to invest in a more custom meditation cushion. A good meditation cushion will make it easier for you to sit up straight and breathe with ease. Remember that breathing exercises themselves are part of yoga and a healthy aspect of the practice. Through our practice and in changing our breath, we learn that we can change our mood.
Speaking of mood, nothing sets the mood like music. Set up some speakers in the corner of your space. Whether you subscribe to a yoga playlist on Spotify or Pandora, or rock out to your own favorite tunes, music will make a world of difference!
Now that you have appealed to your sight, touch and hearing senses, let’s move on to smell. Keep your air clean and natural. If you can, open your window close or near to your space to have a cool breeze depending on the season and outdoor temperature. Recycle a mini-spray bottle and mix distilled water with your favorite essential oils. You can get creative with your mix, but we love this combo: 10 drops Lavender, 5 drops Peppermint and 5 drops drop of Patchouli (try it). Spray the room or space as you begin. You’ll immediately be transported to a happier place.
Another way to awaken your senses is by candles (scented or unscented) or incense. Day or night, candles warm up any space. You can arrange candles in the corners of your room or surrounding your inspirational pieces. The flame alone can challenge you during a balancing pose. Additionally, incense can help to cleanse the energy of your space.
If you want to get really advanced, other ideas include painting a wall in soft tones of gray, blue or green or installing some unique lighting. You may also want to consider setting up a small table, stand or firm cushion to elevate your iPad or laptop computer while streaming your yoga class on Practyce.
To be inspired in yoga is to rejuvenate your practice, which rewrites your attitude and ultimately helps your swimming. This winter, try a regular at home yoga practice to lift your swimming to a new level!