YOGA FOR TENNIS PLAYERS
When we've made it home after a long day of playing tennis, we like to use yoga to relax and stretch our bodies for a faster recovery time. Here are some of the poses we use to heal our aching muscles.
Crescent Lunge at the Wall:
This pose is perfect for stretching the hip flexors and the chest. Which get worked pretty hard during a game of tennis. Stand with your left side near a wall or fence. Step your left foot forward, and place your left hand against the wall so it rests slightly behind you and so your torso is twisted towards the wall. Your elbow should be bent at about 90 degrees and held at shoulder height.l Bend your right knee and drop down into a lunge until your left knee is right above your left ankle (make sure your knee stays in line with your 2nd toe and heel, and that it doesn't over shoot your foot. Protect your knees) and slowly turn your chest forward. You should feel a slight stretch in your left hip and your left chest. Hold for 30-60 seconds before switching sides. If this is too intense, you can do each separately.
This pose is a gentle backbend that will open up the shoulders without placing much weight on them. Start in Table Pose, with your knees on the floor, hip width apart and your hands also on the floor and shoulder width apart. Slide your hands forward, keeping your tailbone in the air and arching the back, opening the chest towards the ground. Keep your lower belly engaged to protect your low spine and if you have a more sensitive neck, keep your gaze down to the mat, lengthening the back of your neck and keeping it in line with the rest of the spine.
Tennis requires the use of the whole body, and involves a lot of core strength-which includes all the muscles around the spine. This pose is great for stretching the muscles around the spine. Start by lying on your back, and bend both knees and twist until they rest on the floor by your side. If you are tighter today, you can rest your knees on a pillow. Hold for for a few deep, even breaths, before switching sides. By reaching your arms out in a T position you can breath into open your chest too.
Reclining Side Figure Four:
You'll find after a long tennis sesh, you've worked your thighs and outer thighs to the max! This pose is perfect for stretching the outer hip and leg, down to your outer knee & into IT Band. Start by lying on your back. Bend your knees, take your left ankle to your right knee, and then lower both legs to your right so that the sole of your left foot rests on the floor. Keep both feet active and flexed to protect your knees. You should feel the stretch through the left outer hip and thigh. Hold for a few deep, even breaths. Return to neutral, and lie on your back, draw both knees into your chest - perhaps rock from side to side-until your lower back is fully relaxed. Then do the same process on the other side of the body.
Savasana with Cactus Arms
Savasana! One of our favorite poses! It is the ultimate in relaxation, so be sure to focus on even breaths and maintaining a calm mind, as you lie on your back, feet resting near the edges of your mat. Here's where the modification comes in: Raise your arms overhead, with the elbows at a 90 degree bend. Keep your neck long and your shoulder blades rooted to the earth. Savasana with Cactus Arms is restorative to the body and mind, stretching the pectoral muscles and the rotator cuffs (that are heavily used during tennis) while allowing for deep relaxation.
So, after your next big tennis match, try some yoga to help your body recover. While you're at it, snap a photo, and share it on the socials with the hashtag #30minuteswith30Fifteen. Speaking of #30minuteswith30Fifteen, remember to move your body for at least 30 minutes a day!
*Please note these instructions are very basic guides. If you are new to yoga, pilates, or any of the fitness moves pictured above, please find a local studio near you and take a couple of classes before attempting to practice alone. We cannot be held responsible for an injury caused by following these instructions.