Yoga has gone mainstream, but it can be intimidating if you've never practiced before or have taken some time off. Here are five reasons you should seriously consider adding yoga to your training regimen:
1. Flexibility. Yogis got it, triathletes want it. This is probably the #1 thing people think of when they think yoga, so there's not much more to say about this one except, "Holy hip flexors, Batman!"
2. Learn to cultivate your personal bubble. The swim start is a major source of anxiety for new and experienced triathletes alike. With all those bodies vying to make the straightest line toward the buoy, the occasional jab to the face or ribs is inevitable. Sometimes that extra bump of adrenaline is what's needed to propel you to the front of the pack, but it can just as easily throw off your mental game. If all that jostling throws you into a funk or, even worse, a full-on panic, find yourself a crowded yoga class and practice loving (or at least ignoring) your exuberant neighbor.
3. Physical strength. You would think all that biking, running, and strength training would give yourself the world's strongest legs. Until you're hanging out in Warrior II for what feels like half an hour. Yoga will challenge your muscles in a new way and add some variety to your training schedule.
4. Mental strength. Yoga places a lot of emphasis on clearing your mind while holding some uncomfortable poses for a little longer than you might like. Learning to turn off your brain can allow you to push your body to new heights.
5. Relaxation. Training morning and night, with a little 8+ hour workday thrown in between, can turn your body into a ball of tension without your even realizing it. When I'm practicing Savasana (corpse pose) at the end of a yoga session, I'm as relaxed as I can get while still technically remaining conscious.