Hockey Yoga - The practice

 

Your strength is greater than the sum of your muscles – that is where yoga comes into the picture.

The very word yoga means union. In terms of hockey-yoga that means working to make the player one balanced unit - body, mind and breath. The more balanced she/he is the more will the most important union improve – the union with the game – flowing as one with the moment.

Therefor I am providing something different than just stretches, breath work and meditation.

Every part of the practice has to aim to balance the whole.

 

  • My yoga programs for hockey players are adapted to the needs of the sport and taught in a sport specific terminology.

I have spent countless hours studying the sport, watching games, joining ice practices, talking to coaches and players to develop an even better understanding of the needs of a hockey player and how to best communicate the yoga practice.

The method has also naturally evolved thru the years that I’ve worked with hockey players.

 

  • It’s not simply stretching. The mobility routines I offer are mainly based on either systematic exercises to release tension or exercises in a full range of movement where we make sure the stabilizing muscles are activated.

 

  • The tension release routines are great for recovery and not only loosening up for muscles and joints but also has a calming effect on the nervous system which will benefit an overall relaxed feeling. These exercises are also great as a part of warm-up routines as they help releasing habitual tension patterns enabling the body to work more evenly and balanced while more active.

 

 

  • In the active mobility routines I emphasize a lot on fluid movement that will help lengthen muscles while loadbearing – accentuated eccentric training. Generally yoga has a unique toolbox of positions to challenge range of motion and with the hockey yoga I’ve taken it one step further and several steps closer to the needs of a hockey player. Since the aim of my yoga practice is to work the body as a whole these routines will help improve movement patterns. Eccentric training not only increases mobility but is also known to have a great effect on developing strength.

 

  • I’ve heard Braden Holtby being referred to as economy in movement. Emphasizing on the leverage effect and moving from a low center of gravity is unique to the school of yoga that I come from, as far as I know. In the sequences we use martial arts and daoist principles to cultivate efficiency in movement. The benefits of this is not only greater endurance and better oxygenation, the relaxed muscle also has a quicker reflex than a tense one.

 

  • When it comes to breath work I focus on one of the key muscle when it comes to breathing – the diaphragm. All the popular core and abs training are often creating a lot of tension in the diaphragm. So with the hockey yoga breath work we focus on releasing tension in the diaphragm which will have a huge effect on breathing and the oxygenation of the body and the brain.

 

  • In the practice we are using the physical body as a focal point which naturally leads to a practice of concentration and focus. A better body awareness and an overall more relaxed state of being will lessen the demand on the nervous system and benefit a clear mind.

 

  • All the routines are about creating balance. Muscles that are short due to tension are more prone to injury just as weak muscles that are too mobile makes joints more prone to injury. You can’t have one without the other and yoga is working the whole. Once again – it’s not only about stretching and relaxation it’s about creating balance.