30 NHL teams are trying to outlast a marathon of a 48 game shorten season as result of a 4 month lockout. With 3 weeks already into the season, nearly every team has had to deal with some sort of injury (most notably the Detroit Red Wings whom top the list) due to the grueling schedule of playing almost every other day over the course of 99 days.
The common injuries players are experiencing have resulted from a combination of excessive exercise, lack of recovery time, and the inability to properly stretch pre and post games. We asked Team Stratusphere member Britney, a hockey player herself and yoga instructor who has created unique yoga programs for a number of hockey teams for some tips and suggestions every NHL player should follow to stay healthy to be able to compete all-season long and raise Lord Stanley in June!
Here are 5 yoga poses and tips from our resident yogi that could help hockey players of all levels and ages to avoid riding the pine this upcoming season:
1. Thread the Needle
All hockey players know that the main muscle group used during hockey is the legs. Hip flexors, in particular, are strained during overuse and repetitive motions. This type of strain occurs typically during skating, and abrupt starts and stops. This pose is used to stretch the hip flexor muscles, while avoiding tension in the upper body into the neck areas. Thread the needle allows for hockey players to soften areas of tension (hip flexors, groin) and create length and opening through these muscles.
2. Warrior I
Alongside the hips, the quads take a lot of abuse during the game of hockey. Warrior I is an ideal pose for all athletes, specifically hockey players. It allows for you to stretch out the quadriceps while strengthening the legs. Stronger legs make strong skaters, stronger skaters make for better scoring opportunity!
Different parts of the game of hockey require different strengths and areas of the body. Plank pose, which focuses primarily on the upper body and core, is a beneficial pose for hockey players. The upper body strength obtained in plank could attribute to a harder shot, firmer passes, and better hits! The core, which stabilized the entire body allows for hockey players to develop a strong center of gravity to help keep them on two feet.
4. Warrior II
Warrior II is the complete package for a hockey player. It helps to strengthen the thighs, open the hips, and improves stamina (opening the chest and lungs), while stretching and strengthening the groin area. For big hitters and the tough guys, you will maintain a solid grounding and stability.
5. Baddha Konasana
This pose works to stretch the inner thighs, groins and knees. For hockey players, this is a dream pose. Although it may not seem like a ton of exertion, it works to increase blood circulation in the lower abdomen, and calm the nervous system. As any hockey player would know, especially those in the NHL, the game moves at rapid pace, and it is the calmest players who make the best plays!
It is extremely important and critical to overall individual success (which leads to team success) that you take care of your body through these physically demanding times!
Team Stratusphere Expert: Britney Selina is a yoga instructor at Stratusphere with a solid hockey background, playing Division I at Clarkson University in NYC and participating in the CWHL (Canadian Women's Hockey League). Follow Britney: @bbright27
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