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These Yoga Poses Are Perfect for Athletes

Everyone knows it’s better to bend than to break. These eight poses will enable athletes to recover and function at peak level.

Down Dog Foot Pedal

  • Start on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sits bones toward the ceiling.
  • Reach heels back toward the mat. Drop head so neck is long.
  • Make sure wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat.
  • Press into the knuckles of forefingers and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists.
  • Pedal feet out one at a time, alternately bending knees in down dog. Breathe here for at least 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Half Chair Half Ankle to Knee

  • Stand with big toes together, outer edges of feet parallel.
  • Bend knees, sink hips back as if sitting down in a chair, and reach arms high to frame face.
  • Transfer weight into right leg, then hug left knee into chest.
  • Cross left ankle over right knee. Flex left foot to protect knee.
  • Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Happy Baby

  • Lie on back. Bend knees and hug them in toward chest.
  • Widen knees toward armpits and take the outer edges of feet in hands.
  • Keep whole back on the ground and rock softly from left to right if that feels good.
  • Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.


  • Start in a wide low lunge with right foot forward and both hands to the left of right foot.
  • Lower forearms to the ground so that elbows line up with the arch of the front foot and forearms are parallel to one another.
  • Lower left knee to ground, reach chest forward, and allow head to relax in line with spine.
  • Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths, then repeat on left side.

Low Lunge with Quad Opener

  • Start in a long low lunge with right foot forward, and tap back knee down.
  • Crawl hands up onto right thigh and breathe here.
  • Bend left knee, reach left heel toward left thigh.
  • Grab hold of left foot with right hand and place it in the crook of left elbow.
  • Rest right hand or forearm on right thigh for stability and balance.
  • Breathe here 5 to 10 deep breaths before repeating on other side.

Supported Fish Variation

  • While sitting on the ground with legs in front of you, place a yoga block on the medium-height behind you beneath where shoulder blades will lie.
  • Bend knees and place feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Using arms, slowly lower upper back to gently rest on the block, adjusting placement until you are comfortable.
  • Ideally, the block is where your bra line would be. Next, clasp hands behind head and allow elbows and head to release toward the ground.
  • Keep knees bent, or lengthen legs long (pictured). Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths.


  • Lie facedown. Bend knees and grab ankles with hands.
  • Press feet away from head, ankles into hands, keeping knees hip-width apart, and lift chest off the ground.
  • Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Supine Spinal Twist

  • Lie on back. Hug right knee into chest.
  • Take left hand to outer right thigh, and guide right knee to the left.
  • Reach right arm out to the side, on the ground. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right.
  • You can keep left hand on right thigh to allow its weight to ground the right leg, or if you prefer, reach left arm long to the left so arms make one long line.
  • Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

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