Yoga For Swimmers Lesson Plan
This free Yoga For Swimmers Lesson Plan was created using the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner. You can download it as a PDF.
Lesson Plan Overview
Yoga For Swimmers: 18 Hip Flexor, Seated & Floor Poses
30 to 90 minute class (or just pick one or more of the poses)
Beginner to advanced
To provide swimmers with poses that stretch the hip flexor. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight hip flexors and hip flexor pain, which increases the chance of injury for triathletes. All the poses in this lesson plan help swimmers to build strength and flexibility in their hips.
By the end of the lesson students should/will be able to:
Perform a 10 to 30 minute hip flexor focused practice.
Pick one or more of the hip flexor focused poses to practice.
Release tight hips (caused by excessive sitting).
Hold Pigeon Forward Fold (a very deep hip flexor stretch) for 30 seconds.
Relax at the end of the practice in Supine Butterfly pose, which is a gentle hip stretch.
Know the other physical areas of focus for swimmers (Arm, Buttocks, Calves, Feet, Hamstrings, Shoulders, and Thighs).
Choose to spend time sitting at home in Seated Wide Leg Pose (to get a gentle hip stretch), instead of on on the sofa.
Become aware that sitting is the new smoking (most swimmers have office jobs that involve sitting in front of computers or sitting behind steering wheel. All this “sitting” is creating a body that is predisposed to “injury” which is why it’s so important to have a disciplined yoga practice).
Exhale slowly when going deeper into a pose (this helps to go deeper into a pose and also train for slower exhales when swimming. The trick to exhaling underwater is to do it slowly. Then, as you feel you’re getting ready to come up for air, breathe out at a faster pace, in preparation for your next breath. Avoid exhaling too quickly, however, as this may cause you to gasp for air. Aim for your exhalation period underwater to be twice as long as your inhalation period).
The short version is perfect for taking into class with you. It’s short and sweet.
The long version has everything you need to practice the lesson plan before getting to class. You can take it to class with you (but you may prefer to take the short version). The long version is a great handout to give to your students, especially your one-to-one students. It immediately shows your professionalism, and increases your expertise in the eyes of your students.
Q & A
Below are common questions you may get from swimmers…
“Are yogic breathing exercises good for swimmers?”
Yes. Here are 6 breathing exercises to get you started. I’ve loved swimming all my life, and not really understood why until writing this post. It turns out the thing I subconsciously adore about swimming is that the senses and awareness are gathered inward. When swimming you’re submerged in water, with reduced sensory input. You have reduced vision, reduced sound, reduced touch (because you’re supported by water verses having your feet on the ground), reduced smell (all you can smell is chlorine). So, swimming is a spiritual practice. If you don’t believe me (it took me awhile to believe me), read my blog post about pratyahara – the fifth limb of yoga, which is about “gathering toward oneself” by reducing your senses.
“Will core yoga help swimmers?”
Yes. Weakness in the core can result in lower back pain.
You can download the core yoga lesson plan series below…
“Is sitting in Easy Pose while meditating good for the core?”
Yes. But you may not be able to stay in Easy Pose (legs crossed) for very long if you have a weak core. To begin with you may only be able to sit for a minute or two. That’s fine. Yoga isn’t a race. The benefits of meditation are well documented (increased self-awareness, reduced anxiety, increased focus, increased emotional intelligence). I think the biggest benefit of meditation for a competitive swimmer is that it triggers the brain’s relaxation response. Being relaxed improves performance.
“What poses I can do to ease my tight hips and hip flexors?”
Easy! Download the yoga for swimmers lesson plan, and pick one of the poses. All the poses in the yoga for swimmers lesson plan help swimmers to build strength and flexibility in their hips. The poses include: Bound Angle, Child, Extended Puppy, Cat (Head to Knee), Half Monkey, Cow (modification), Frog, Pigeon, Pigeon Forward Fold, Seated Pigeon (and modifications), Archer Bridge, Cat Pulling Tail, Seated Wide Leg, Eye Of The Needle, Knee To Chest, and Supine Butterfly.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight hip flexors and hip flexor pain, which increases the chance of injury for swimmers.
“How can I get a full body workout in the pool?”
Incorporate the four basic strokes when you swim – breast, freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke.