“Meet me at the court for some yoga,” isn’t a phrase you’d expect to hear, and I don’t think Tennis Express customers knew what to expect either when we started our Yoga for Tennis program. Last Thursday at our indoor Houston tennis court Jasmine from Yoga Pod West Houston treated Tennis Express customers and employees to a yoga routine she customized with tennis players in mind. She gave us a couple days of soreness, but a challenging and strengthening way to improve our tennis game!
My coworker David and I have both done yoga previously. I’ve been learning and practicing for about ten years now. Sweat fell on our mats during the practice and it was a great workout that targeted a lot of injury prone joints and muscles for tennis players. Countless challenging new poses tested my balance. The extended time and focus Jasmine put into each pose exercised my shoulders, forearms and hamstring, and stretched out my sides along my ribs.
Three poses in particular were great for us tennis players, and they’re just some of Jasmine’s favorite poses to show us: triangle pose, spinal twist poses, and chair pose. More on each of these poses can be found below.
Days after our first class we ALL agreed that our shoulders had the most soreness. I participate so I can feel more flexible and stretchy like Novak Djokovic when he’s on defense. Often when I play, if I skimp on my footwork and don’t set up properly for a backhand, I will feel a pulling in the back of my hips.
I’ve attended Jasmine’s classes twice now, and the repetition of poses is where I can see how much progress I’ve made. Jasmine is friendly and answered our questions about athlete strength and especially balance, which are vital for tennis players. All of the poses in Jasmine’s class make for great practice, pre-match or post-match stretching. This truly gives your body a little advantage when you’re running around the court.
The Triangle Pose is a great starting pose for beginners to learn about the benefits of Yoga. It specifically strengthens the legs and stretches the groin, hamstrings, and hips, and opens the chest and shoulders. It also is a great for improving your balance and stability which most tennis players’ need. Click here to learn more about the specific steps on how to do this pose.
Spinal Twist Poses
The Spinal Twist Pose is one that can have many different variations depending on your level of experience. In example if you compare the picture above with the blog cover photo, you will see two different variations of spinal twist poses that work the body to relieve pain. This is great for enhancing your spine flexibility, stretching the shoulders, neck, and hips, as well as opening up the shoulders, neck, arms, hips and lower back. Click here to learn more about how to do this pose.
The Chair Pose is another great beginner pose that can benefit your body all over. It’s similar to what most body builders or weightlifting do when they do a Squat. The main difference though is that this pose focuses on body weight, balance and posture. The physical benefits you’ll see from doing this pose are strengthening your lower body (hip flexors, quadriceps, inner thighs, and glutes), strengthening your calfs and arches in your feet, opening up the chest and shoulders as well as stimulating the heart. Click here to learn more about how to do this pose.