Even if you’re not a fan of yoga workouts, you can still take advantage of the mobility (and calming of the mind) with a yoga cool-off. You should Still, take time to cool off after your workout. So why not expand your routine a little?
Unlike a regular stretch routine, yoga combines breath with movement, so not only does it temporarily elongate and relax your tense muscles, but it also helps calm your mind. It also activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for slowing your heart rate, saving energy, and relaxing and digesting.
“Yoga is a mind-body practice,” Danielle Pagliuca, a NASM-certified personal trainer and registered yoga teacher based in Hoboken, New Jersey, told SELF. “Using yoga as a post-workout cool-down has mental benefits such as increased mindfulness and body awareness as opposed to a normal stretching routine.”
That’s because breath work is at the core of yoga, says Pagliuca. When you connect to your breath and focus on purposefully inhaling and exhaling air, you can tap into a sense of control that is especially important during these chaotic times.
There are physical benefits too. Even after you exercise, your muscles may feel sore and tense, but some yoga can improve your flexibility, which is the ability to move a joint over its entire range of motion, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
In fact, a small study from 2016 was published in the International journal for yoga When college athletes took yoga classes twice a week for 10 weeks, they improved their shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. (If you have mobility impairments, yoga moves may be especially challenging – which may indicate that you need to incorporate more mobility work into your normal routine, says Pagliuca.)
When it comes to what types of yoga poses to include in your cool down, it largely depends on what muscles you’ve been exercising during your workouts, says Pagliuca. “For example, if your training session involved a lot of grip work (think of movements like pulling up, overhead pressing, or being carried by the farmer), you may want to focus on your wrists and forearms. If you’ve just finished a run, you may want to focus more on your quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves, ”she says.
Regardless of your training, according to Pagliuca, yoga is suitable for all types of training, whether running, cycling, HIIT or weightlifting. “Focused breathing, increased mindfulness, and increased body awareness can benefit everyone, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or someone just starting out,” she says.
Here is a Yoga Flow Pagliuca that you can do at home to relax after a workout.
Demo the movements are below Hejira Nitoto (Photo 1), a mother of six and a certified personal trainer and owner of a fitness apparel line based in Los Angeles; Shauna Harrison (Photos 2 and 3), a Bay Area-based trainer, yogi, public health academic, attorney and columnist for SELF; Caitlyn Seitz (Photo 4), a New York-based group fitness instructor and singer / songwriter; and Jessica Rihal (Photos 5-8) an oversized yoga teacher (200 HR) and a strong advocate of fitness / wellness for all bodies.
The cooling off
What you need: A yoga mat.
- Hold each pose for 8-10 breaths before moving on to the next. Complete a total of 1-2 rounds.