By Julianne Russell

Julianne is a yoga instructor and coach at P360.  On top of her vast knowledge of the human body, she is also an accomplished weightlifter totaling a 300# deadlift as well as Level 4 Barbell Club at P360.

One of the most common conversations that I have in my life revolves around someone (usually a guy) telling me that they need yoga, but won’t do it because they’re not flexible.  That’s like someone saying they don’t go to the gym because they are not strong, or that they don’t eat right because they are fat.

Huh?

Just as I go to the gym four days a week to work on my strength, so to do I routinely practice yoga to ensure I stay mobile and healthy.

Here’s why if you go to Performance360 then you should do yoga, too.

I get that most people think yoga is only about stretching, therefore it must be slow and boring.  This is mostly false.  Stretching is a significant part of it, but truthfully there are other very valuable strength and balance components as well.  It’s a different ballgame than your Daily or Outdoor Challenge of course, but you can work hard in your yoga practice to a point of complete physical exhaustion if you like, all the same.  However, where I am guessing most of you guys will benefit from our Sunday classes is through mobility and stability carryover to our movements.

One of the major benefits you’ll find in yoga that you won’t find in the other classes is that we hold postures in isometric contraction for longer periods of time and use almost no speed or momentum for movement. This increases strength from the muscular force needed to maintain say, a lunge like in Warrior 2, but also gives you time to work on alignment and stability within joint structures like the knee, hip and shoulder which will help just about every single movement we perform in the gym.

The hip girdle to help with swings, deadlifts and box jumps.

The shoulder girdle to help with every single overhead movement we do.

Look at something “simple” and a pose practiced throughout class – Downward Facing Dog (pictured above).

It is a full body posture that has a ton of different elements involved and you can achieve a variety of goals. Fundamentally speaking, the main goal is the lengthening of the spine, combined with hamstrings and calves.  When we create this kind of stretching action through the whole back body, we need to fully engage the front body working with the quadriceps, abdominals, hip flexors, and chest.  So, not only will Downward Facing Dog start to give you more flexibility in your hamstrings over time,  and significantly decompress the spine to the point where long time practitioners may actually get up to a full inch taller (in 8 years of practice I have gone from 5’4 and a half to a solid 5’5”, no shit), but will also build a deep core strength that helps to support pretty much every movement you make on a daily basis, particularly in the gym.

Let us not forget the shoulders in this one too.   As the chest is being pressed back toward the legs, the shoulders stay stable in a slight external rotation creating not only strength in the whole upper body, but increasing mobility profoundly.

Hmmm…does this sound like something that could help front rack position, jerks, push press, snatches?

This downward facing dog example is just one microcosm of the enormous benefit that athletes receive from including yoga.

Yoga helps with everything. I promise. But don’t take my word for it, just come do it for yourself. There is really no reason not to as we moved the time to 9 so you won’t miss football, and we’re talking about the health and maintenance of your working body here!

Stay healthier, and uninjured by supporting the strength you build through the week with flexibility and stability you develop with yoga, and truly nothing can hold you back from goals.

Julianne Russell is the yoga instructor at Performance.  She has been teaching yoga in San Diego for five years and worked hands on with many different clientele.

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