Pain As My Gateway To Yoga With David James

Pain As My Gateway To Yoga

I’ve been swimming on and off since I was a kid and year-round for the last several years. While not a triathlete, I also run and bike, and in summer occasionally “compete” in ocean races. And while I’ve long been interested in yoga, it’s hard to fit into my fitness schedule, besides work and everything else, as well as challenging to locate a class that meets my body’s needs at a given time. Meanwhile, at least in pre-pandemic days, it hadn’t occurred to me to try online yoga. It seemed like if one wanted to learn or become proficient, doing so in person was a must.

Pain was the gateway that led me to Abi Carver’s yoga offerings. The extended rest imposed by a running-related injury snowballed and when I resumed training, I experienced searing ITB band pain. It was while searching for solutions that I discovered Abi’s, “Poses for Pain Relief.” Her IT band stretches turned out to be a panacea. I was converted—a believer in the merits of “yoga for athletes”—and, from then on, a devotee of Abi’s offerings. Her “yin” sequences became part of my nightly routine. Longstanding TFL pain I could never quite stretch my way out of dissipated.

Since then, I’ve done at least one 15-minute Yoga 15 sequence daily. My favorites include the Pre-Workout Activation (by design, great before a run or swim), and the balance sequences – fun, challenging, and make yoga feel like a game. And my doubts about online yoga? I love it – I can do whatever… whenever. That is, select the targeted-sequence my body needs any time. I can do a pre-activation before heading to the pool, a rest and recovery session before bed, among dozens of others. Yoga 15 has been effective not only in providing swift relief from pain and soreness, but in heading it off altogether. It’s made me a more resilient athlete.

Swimmer David James

As a swimmer, benefits I’ve experienced include enhanced proprioception—useful for swimmers always seeking to attain “feel for the water,” improved shoulder flexibility, and relief from neck soreness. Yoga also helps to integrate all the muscles in the posterior chain—better coordination—not a bad idea in a sport where your stroke is timed with the kick. 

While pain may be what initially led me to Abi Carver’s yoga, I now enjoy it as a daily practice, not only for its well-known array of benefits, but for its own sake.

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