By Rachel Grunwell

Whatever your favourite fitness endeavour, yoga can be a useful tool.

It can help you to de-stress and re-balance your body and mind. It's a powerful tool for injury prevention. The mindset and meditation part of the practice can help to fuel your performance too.

I teach yoga and mindfulness to corporates in workplaces, and clients at Rotorua's Mindful Moments retreats. But I've shared yoga and mindfulness too with lots of athletes (from elite runners, to weekend warrior runners like me). I teach CrossFitters to dancers too, etc.

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These clients care about staying strong and having good range of mobility. They know that training hard matters, but recovery is crucial otherwise you don't adapt.

That meditation side of yoga is perhaps the most important aspect, I believe. Learning to focus well on your goal, and to avoid distractions, can uplift your performance. I use a mantra to help when I run, for instance. I've run 19 marathons, lots of half-marathons and other distance events too. So, I've used this strategy lots. In the end miles of a race, a mantra keeps me strong and focused. I know several elites who use this strategy also.

Give some love to the hamstrings. Photo / Supplied
Give some love to the hamstrings. Photo / Supplied

I speak at lots of events giving wellness and lifestyle advice. I also lead lots of yoga and mindset workshops.

Two are coming up in the Bay of Plenty so come along and connect with me if you have any questions about yoga-for-athletes. I'll be running at both of these events too.

I'm leading a yoga-for-runners session for the Tauranga International Marathon event. I'll be doing this at the registration and expo area along The Strand. This is on the Friday.
night before the September 22 run event.

On October 13, I'll lead a yoga warm up at the Rotorua Ekiden Relay event. I'll also do a talk the night before this event at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside hotel.

A quad stretch. Photo / Supplied
A quad stretch. Photo / Supplied

Yoga tips:

To warm up before something like a run, do some dynamic stretches. This helps your body to move well so you can run well. Moving lunges or leg swings are great, for example.

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After a run, do longer held stretches to bring length back to tight muscles.

Check out my website inspiredhealth.co.nz for my blog on more yoga-for-athletes stretches and a guide on how to do these safely and correctly. Just remember to stretch that you are comfortable at.

Meanwhile, one of my favourites yoga poses (whether you are a corporate or athlete) is the legs-up-the-wall pose. Do this after a run, or a busy day at the office. This is incredible for re-setting your body and mind. Remember to close your eyes and breathe slow and deep with your belly, not your chest.

This yoga pose is pictured on my website.

• Rachel Grunwell is an award-winning writer, wellness expert and speaker, yoga and mindfulness teacher and PT. She teaches mindfulness to corporates to help them de-stress and improve productivity. She also coaches private clients.

Follow her via: inspiredhealth.co.nz
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