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Yoga for Athletes at Midtown Athletic Club

April 7, 2013

Yoga has been part of my life for over ten years now. I walked into a yoga studio on September 12, 2001…. because I needed to. I tried every type of yoga there was… none of the styles sat with me. I am not the kind of person who can sit on a cloud. I don’t function well from chakras. I am spiritual but at the time I was struggling with my own faith.

Then I found Bapsite Power Vinyasa. It was hot but not Bikram hot. It was flowing, which spoke to my dance background. It was athletic, which spoke to the athlete in me.

To be real honest I walked in there to win yoga. I stood between a Rochester Rhino and another serious yoga guy. If they did two push ups I did three. If they did three I did four. If they did a head stand I held it longer. One night in a  very crowded class…. we were in triangle pose. I fell. I took 8 people down with me.

The lessons of yoga came hard to me and they took forever. One day it happened… in a Baptiste training in Hawaii….. during savasana (final relaxation)  The song “God is real” was playing. This piece rocked me to my core. I listen to it every single day and for years it was the song I played during every one of my classes in savasana. It was then… on that mat in Hawaii I was able to let go. Like really let go. I realized I was crying, sobbing. For absolutely no reason.

And everything changed.

As I came back to my mat at the studio both as a teacher (I have been teaching since 04) and as a student (since 01) my entire practice changed. Yoga became my sanctuary, my church, that one place I can’t really and truly describe. It allowed my head to be quiet, and it gave me the one space in my world where I didn’t have to try to WIN!!!! Imagine that.

I am also an athlete…. I train between 15-20 hours a week. Frankly fitting in a 75 minute practice even 2 times a week was a big struggle. This inspired me to create my own sequence of poses to help me fit time in on my mat. I developed a 30 minute practice that I could do at home, and then I’d hit the studio once a week for a good solid 75 minute practice.

As an Ironman athlete I have a lot of limitations in my practice. I am not flexible. I am in fact the least flexible yoga teacher you will ever meet. I can’t touch my toes with straight legs. It’s because I spend 15-20 hours a week swimming, cycling and running.

Injuries happen for a variety of reasons. Range of motion is important in sports like triathlon, golf, tennis. When our muscles get tight, we lose some of that range of motion. If we force through that range of motion rather than working on flexibility and strength…. we then sustain an injury. My 30 minute Yoga for Athletes sequence has helped me remain injury free, has helped me develop more focus on and off the field, and it’s something I can do anywhere.

I have been fortunate enough to have worked with the Rochester Rhino’s with this program, as well as several youth sports teams and individual athletes. It’s something I am extremely passionate about… because I think we as athletes sometimes get competitive in there or don’t feel like a yoga practice can benefit us. Wrong!

Photo from Yoga Journal

Photo from Yoga Journal

When I do come into a class as a student I am in a sea of yogi’s who can put their feet behind their head. If I ever was able to do that I’d need an orthopedic surgeon to get me out of it. I am not the only one who feels that way. So I hone in on what I can do. In my yoga for athletes classes we talk about what to do when everyone around you jumps into bird of paradise, or headstand.

I am really excited to be bringing my Yoga For Athletes program to Midtown Athletic Club. Throughout this four week program you will learn a 30 minute sequence that you can do at home, you will learn how to properly move through poses with specific detail to how it fits you as an athlete. You will learn how to make any practice work for you, and you will learn that yoga is not about stuffing yourself into a yoga pose that doesn’t fit you… but how to custom design a practice to fit you … the athlete.

This is open to both members and nonmembers!!! If you are a non member you can even use our amazing club!

It begins Thursday April 18th.  5:30 PM (that’s in the evening 🙂

Registration is OPEN. TO register call the club 585.461.2300

I promise you…. yoga needn’t be intimidating. It’s for everyone. Even we athletes. You will find that 30 minutes a few times a week can pay dividends when you get back on the field. Your range of motion will be preserved and improved, your head will be clear and you will find something deeper and more meaningful when it comes to competition.

I am an athlete. I am really inflexible. I created this program from my experience as an athlete. I am in your shoes. I know what it’s like. So come and practice with me. We will even have fun!

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