Hey Scarlet Caps, hockey season is back! For those who don't know me, my name is Kelly and I'm the Caps yoga instructor.
Training camp is wrapping up and the season kicks off in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 5. This year marks my fourth training camp, and it's one of my favorite times of the season for all of the energy and enthusiasm that comes with new beginnings.
Before we go any further, for those of you who may be new to this blog or hockey in general, and as a reminder to the veteran readers among you, I'd like to say a word about why hockey players would practice yoga. People always seem to be surprised that they do, but there are good reasons for it, especially in such a physically grueling sport like hockey.
Yoga complements other aspects of the team's conditioning program, which includes strength training, plyometrics and healthy eating. Over time, with safe and steady practice, yoga can help an elite athlete develop healthy alignment and balance, improved mobility and increased resilience. That translates into better performance, fewer wear and tear injuries and faster rehab when injuries do occur in the rough and tumble world of the NHL.
I work under Mark Nemish, the Strength and Conditioning Coach. We meet in the weight room, which is carpeted and spacious, for sessions that range from 30-45 minutes.
Typically, in training camp we focus on mobility and easing any stiffness or soreness that may have developed since the beginning of camp. Although nearly all elite athletes train year round, an off-season workout is never quite the same as getting back on the ice with your teammates day-in and day-out.
Hips and the lower back are two key areas of focus. Common poses that help to open both of these areas are Bridge and Reclining Twist, which we covered in posts last season. Another helpful pose is what we call "Wipers." Here's how you do it:
Lie on your back, bend your knees and put your feet on the floor slightly wider than hip-width apart from each other. Extend your arms over your head and place them on the floor behind you however it feels most comfortable. Then on an exhale, let your knees fall to the left. When you inhale, bring them back to the middle and on the next exhale, let your knees fall to the right. Go back and forth a few times (just like windshield wipers, which is where the name comes from), moving with your breathing.
This promises to be a great season with fun activities planned for the Scarlet Caps…we might even get back on center ice for some yoga…stay tuned!
Thanks for reading and Let's Go Caps!