YOGA FOR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

Over time, athletes — especially those who focus on a single sport — develop imbalances that can lead to reduced performance and injury. Yoga can help you become aware of these imbalances and create greater symmetry. Yoga also can help you improve your balance, flexibility, strength, and mental focus. Awareness of proper alignment can also aid in preventing injury and long-term wear and tear.

Strength is an important factor in athletic performance, yet athletes frequently develop strength at the expense of flexibility, resulting in short, tight muscles. A healthy muscle is one that is strong and supple. Over time, muscular imbalances can lead to a reduction in freedom of movement and athletic performance. Through yoga, you can train your body to be both strong and flexible.

I find that while athletes know that stretching is good for them, they often don’t have the patience to make the time for it. Yet, taking a little time off the field can significantly bolster your game.

As an avid soccer player, yoga has helped me stay healthy and able to compete. I teach classes geared specially for athletes to focus on common problem areas, such as tight shoulders, hips and hamstrings.

Yoga for Soccer Players Warm-up: Hi Res | Lo Res

Yoga for Tennis Players: PDF | Lo Res Part 1 | Lo Res Part 2




MORNING YOGA PRACTICE

Here's a short yoga practice you can use to get a good start to your day.

Morning Yoga Practice: Hi Res | Lo Res




YOGA & JEWISH PRACTICE

Along with teaching yoga, I serve as a Spiritual Leader at Kehilla Community Synagogue where I also direct the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program. In these roles, I lead prayer services and also guide young people to explore what is sacred and meaningful to them. This work has helped me to more fully appreciate how our bodies are that vessel that houses our souls. When we are more present in our body, we can more deeply experience the wonder of our existence.

I also teach asana classes (physical postures) where I interweave Jewish teachings with a directed asana sequence. The Jewish content often focuses on a specific theme. Examples: the kavannah (intention) of a prayer (such as gratitude or joy), a Torah story (such as freedom from slavery), a midah (character trait or value) such as cultivating chesed (lovingkindness) or gevurah (strength, containment). A class will usually incorporate Hebrew terms and singing or chanting.


CD Now Available

Moving with Morning Blessings: A Guided Yoga Pracitice with Jewish Song and Prayer $15.

With verbal cues, you will be guided through a gentle yoga practice while simultaneously experiencing songs and prayers that follow the order of the Jewish morning service. The CD is available to purchase from Sandra in person and online.

To download the Prayer Text and Yoga Illustrations (PDF) click here.








Just for fun, here is a brief illustrated excerpt from "Moving With Morning Blessings"








YOGA HAIKUS

I have asked students to submit haikus inspired by their experiences with yoga. These have been contributed by Sharon Meyers, Wendy Edelstein, Marla Bergman, Tom Mabie and Anonymous. Enjoy!


Stretching and bending
Right and left mindful balance
Always with the breath.

Heel! said I to my
Downward-facing dog; head cocked
He struck puppy pose

Fear and daring spar,
Curiosity trumps fear.
Feet toward sky... Head stand!

Lying on a log,
Inhaling pine-scented air,
I expand my lungs.

Yoga, like fine wine,
gets better with age as it
becomes more complex.

Plunge into your lunge.
Feel strength and fluidity.
Absorb like a sponge.

As I go deeper
I find another layer
Like peeling onions

I am a mountain
Grounded down to reach the sky
Strong Tadasana.

Trickonasana
Reach, stretch, twist, hold, strong back leg
I am taller now.

Garudasana
Stand like a pretzel, balance
I am an eagle.

In Vrickshasana
Be a tree. Balance challenged?
There’s always next time.

Standing like a chair,
I am fierce and powerful
In Utkatasan.

Time to be serene
Silence the mind, make no lists
Ahh Shavasana.

To strengthen your bones
Hold seventy-two seconds
Even twelve’s enough.

Any way it’s done
Lying, sitting, or standing
I think yoga’s fun.

Mister Iyengar
All your blocks, straps, mats, and pads
Fill half my closet

Nourish your body
Not with food but with your breath
Inhale and exhale

Wouldn’t you know it
My jaw thinks it needs to help.
Relax, silly jaw.

What’s the perfect pose?
Downward dog gets all the spots
Try it every day.

I’m down on all fours.
Now I’m a cat; now a cow.
Breathing and weaving.

Revert to childhood
You can gurgle and burble
In Happy Baby.

Twist from your belly
But don’t turn your head too far.
Stay in alignment.

Enjoy a concert
Without sitting in a chair
Try Virasana.

Sun salutations
Energize and vitalize,
Warming my body.

See my hairy legs
In Supta Padangusthasan.
I forgot to shave.

In Eka Pada
Rajakapotasana
Roost like a pigeon.

Am I a yogi
If I’m just a beginner?
I’d like to think so.

Upward facing dog
Opens my heart to the world.
And brings awareness.

Connect your sacrum
To your occiput - it helps
To align your spine.

When I meditate
My mind calms: I go inside
And explore nothing.

Pranayama helps
To heal my asthmatic lungs
And to feed my brain.

“Passive or active?”
The student asked the teacher.
“Yes.” “What?” “Yes.” “Either?” “Both.”

Cool spring evening
Opening up in down dog
Slow warmth spreads through me

Hello occiput
Crown plumbs down to the sacrum
Spine reaches skyward

Beautiful angles
Begin with a soft twist
Triangulation


The following refer to playful names for asana that we use in class:

Doing Tetrasana
Means flailing on your backside
Like a beached starfish

Twisting and crossing
I feel many Sensasashans.
Release is heaven

In Scarabasan
I release my scapulae
Like a bird on wing.

Ouchasan feels good
If you go with your breathing
And stop when it hurts.

The Tasty Toes pose
Is easier for the kids
But you can try, too.

Cocktail Party pose
Do it sitting or lying,
Even standing up!

(To the tune of “Hit the Road, Jack”)
I got the slouch spot
No more pain, no more no more
I got the slouch spot.


Submit your own yoga haiku!



Your name (if you'd like to be credited):


Email (optional):