Yoga works on strength and flexibility and ease of movement this helps range of motion. Yoga also increases your body awareness so that you notice warning signs in the body and this can make you less susceptible to injury.

The sequence of poses shown below work to relive tightness and give a good stretch for young athletes.

Pigeon

 

Why it’s good

This is a great hip opener, the front leg is externally rotating and the back leg is stretching out the psoas muscle (deep seated core muscle). This pose will therefore increases hip mobility as it stretches inner and outer hip muscles.

How to do it

Start on all fours, slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. Your left leg slides back as you straighten the knee.

Take a deep breath and as you exhale lay your torso down on the inner right thigh for a few breaths. You may stretch your arms forward.

Downward Dog

Why it’s good

Elongates the shoulders and stretches and strengthens hands, wrists, low back, hamstrings, calves, foot arches and achilles tendons

How to do it

Come onto all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Look at your hands and spread your fingers evenly with the palms pressed down into the floor.

Take a deep breath and as you exhale lift your knees away from the floor.

Warrior 2 

Why it’s good

This pose is all about being a ‘peaceful warrior’, it’s about bringing balance and getting centered. It is a strong pose designed to develop stamina and commitment. It opens your heart and lungs and is also a great stretch for hips and shoulders.

How to do it

Step your feet apart (right foot forward) with the heel of the front foot lining up with the arch of the back foot. Align the right knee over the right ankle. Tuck your right seat under and activate the left thigh muscle. Widen your arms and gaze along your front arm.

Take your awareness to your feet, grounding down through your feet and lifting up through the arches. Find an even flow of energy throughout the body and take at least 8 breaths. Switch to the other side.

Pyramid (Parsvottonasana)

 

Why it’s good

This is an intense side stretch pose that strengthens the legs and calms the mind. It also improves the posture and sense of balance.

How to do it

(Please note, in this photo we used blocks to create a variation of the pose – do this when hamstrings are tight).

With feet hip width apart, step the right foot forward, place your hands on your hips and extend your heart forward extending from the hips. Place the hands on the floor or use blocks. Ensure the hips are square. As you inhale extend the heart forward and as you exhale fold forward.

Standing Quad Stretch

Why it’s good

This pose helps with flexiblity and balance, the aim is for your quadriceps to be both strong and flexible. This pose will also release any tension in lower back.

How to do it

Transfer your weight to your left leg, bend your right knee and bring your heel toward your buttock. Reach for your ankle with your opposite (left) hand. Stand up straight and focus on your breath for around 30 seconds. Swap to the other leg.

Thread the needle

 

Why it’s good

Great stretch for outer hip and hamstrings. Works on piriformis muscle (important in lower body movement) this muscle stabilizes the hip joint and rotates the thigh away from the body.

How to do it

Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Take your left ankle over your right knee. Thread your left arm through the space created between the legs and interlace your fingers around the front of the right shin or back of right thigh. Gently pull your right leg into your chest keeping your hips square. Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat on other side.

Meditation

 

Why it’s good

Sitting quietly in meditation helps to move the energy from the mind and into the body. This helps with emotional regulation as it promotes feelings of calmness and connection.

How to do it

Take a comfortable seat. Gently close your eyes, allow your legs to become heavy and relax into the earth. Lengthen the spine and relax the shoulders away from the ears. Take a moment to notice the breath, notice as you breath in and notice as you breath out.