Australian elite swimmers choose yoga to compliment their physical and mental strengthening training. Yoga is incorporated in their program to optimise the training athletes undergo in the pool and the gym on the daily basis.
Tom Barton, Physiotherapist and Yoga Teacher at The Health Collab, works with World Championship medalists Mitch Larkin (Olympian, World Swimmer of the Year), Madison Wilson and Jess Ashwood that have embraced yoga as a part of their physiotherapy. All of the athletes made it to the Rio team after Olympic last month; perhaps yoga physiotherapy has something to do with it?
“Improving body awareness and mindful breathing is clearly something everyone can benefit from. For an elite swimmer, the upside of increased awareness translates to improved efficiency in the water, better recovery between sessions and ultimately faster swimming. We facilitate this through a yoga routine designed specifically for the needs of each athlete,” said Barton.
The combination of yoga and physiotherapy allows Barton to tailor the unique program for the athletes addressing not only physical injures, but helping with stress and anxiety that athletes may experience. The development of yoga routine works as a piece of consistency where they focus on their breathe, body awareness and control. It helps athletes to “get in the zone” and stabilise their nervous system before major sport events like World Championships and Olympic trials.
“Throughout the past 18 months, yoga has had a huge influence on not only my sporting achievements, but also on my personal development. Yoga has improved my mind and body awareness, and through specific yoga work we have created a strong cross body core connection that was vital in my selection onto the 2016 Olympic Team,” says Madison Wilson, Australian Swimming Olympian.
There are number of benefits of yoga physiotherapy for swimmers and other athletes:
1. Generates strength through hips and shoulders
2. Improves cross body connection
3. Decreases the chances of injury and increases overall performance
4. Enhances post-training recovery
5. Activates diaphragm breathing
Shyamala Benakovic, CEO of Yoga Australia says, “Yoga Physiotherapy is a holistic approach to athletics training and fitness regime. The combination of yoga and physiotherapy brings together a system of health that connects the mind, body and breathe and an evidence based treatment approach that will treat, enhance and promote an overall balanced lifestyle of health and wellbeing”.
About Yoga Australia:
Yoga Australia is a not-for-profit association recognised as the industry peak body for yoga in Australia and has the highest teaching standards anywhere in the world. The primary mission of the organisation is to develop and promote best practice for Yoga teaching, to support and represent Australian teachers from all styles and traditions and to educate and inform the general public about the benefits of Yoga.