Yoga for Athletes

It’s a rare athlete who dismisses yoga out of hand. Most athletes — whether we ride, run, kayak, climb, hike, or anything else — understand that it would be nice to learn yoga to improve our core strength and flexibility. Most of us leave it at that, though; we’d do yoga if we had more time. With time at a premium for most of us, though, we put yoga on the list of hundreds of things we’ll “maybe try during the off-season.”

In this episode of the GU Energy Labs Pinnacle Podcast, pro athlete and GU community development manager Yuri Hauswald — along with friends and fellow yogis Pami Maldonado (Yuri’s yoga instructor for seventeen years) and Nick Gould (a pro cyclist and yoga instructor) — make a strong case for why every athlete needs to find the time to bring yoga into their routine, regardless of their primary endeavor.

Whether you’re already a yoga practitioner, are interested (but too busy), or even if you’re skeptical of yoga, you need to give this episode of the Pinnacle Podcast a listen.

Listen: Yoga for Athletes


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Why Yoga?

Yuri has been doing yoga as a critical part of his training for most of his two decade cycling career — with many of his successes having arrived long after most cyclists have retired. You’ll want to listen to the show for details, but Yuri notes that the most commonly understood benefit of yoga — staying limber — is definitely a component of his endurance, but it’s only one of the pieces of the athletic puzzle that yoga has helped him solve.

Yuri also notes that yoga is restorative; by calming his breath and his body, he improves his on-bike performance, for his upcoming rides and beyond. The strength and flexibility he gets from yoga, along with being more in touch with himself, means he can continue doing what he loves for longer.

Most sports — and certainly all endurance sports — have a repetitive aspect to them, which can lead to repetitive use injuries. Yoga can be invaluable in adding variety to your normal routine, and preventing injuries you might otherwise get from doing the same thing.

Finally, yoga provides a valuable hour of being unplugged from the the highly-connected life most of us tend to lead — an opportunity to focus inward and do something good for your mind and body.

Addressing Concerns

Pinnacle co-host Elden Nelson has not (yet!) tried yoga, and brought some common beginner questions to this episode. “Will I look dumb to the other, more experienced, people in the room?” “How can I find a place and instructor that fit me?” “What if I am the least limber person who has ever claimed to be an athlete?”

Yuri, Pam and Nick all take turns giving guidance on investigating, exploring, and settling in with yoga as part of becoming a better, stronger, and (yes) more flexible athlete.

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