Yoga for Cheerleaders
In this Teesha Talk Tuesday, we will discuss yoga for cheerleaders, the best exercises/poses to practice, and the added benefits of it.
What is it? Yoga for cheerleaders is exactly what it sounds like - yoga poses that are targeted to those who cheer alongside sports events and keep the crowd excited! Cheerleaders have to endure extensive training and practice in order to achieve great stunts and an overall entertaining performance, so engaging in yoga will help them soothe their limbs, improve their form, and mentally prepare them for a amazing performance. Yoga will not only keep these strong athletes in shape but will continue to build their strength and endurance as well as improve their flexibility. Besides the physical contributions of yoga to cheering, there are many mental aspects that help mentally prepare the cheerleaders for a game or competition. With constant training and practice, these athletes are bound to feel overwhelmed, overworked, and a little burnt out. By taking a class in Athletic Yoga with added meditation, it can relax their minds and bodies and allow them a necessary reboot to keep them focused, ready, and relaxed.
What are the best poses for it? The top six yoga poses/exercises for cheerleaders are the Bow Pose, the Forward Fold, the Crow Pose, the Twisted Chair Pose, the Wheel Pose, and the Staff Pose with Shoulder Stretch.
The Bow Pose: Lie flat on your stomach, arms at your sides. Exhale as you bend your knees and bring your heels as close as you can to your buttocks, keeping the knees hip-width apart. Reach back with both hands to grab around the ankles. Inhale as you lift your heels up toward the sky, drawing your thighs off the ground while simultaneously raising the head and upper torso. Keep your gaze ahead. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
The Forward Fold: Stand with feet together, hands on hips. Exhale as you hinge forward at the hips, lengthening the front torso and bringing your upper body down over the legs. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, allow your head to hang heavy. Cross your forearms and hold your elbows or, for a deeper stretch, place your arms behind the calves. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
The Crow Pose: Stand with feet apart. Squat down and place your hands flat on the ground about shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers wide. Lift onto the balls of your feet as you lean forward, slowly raising your hips up toward the sky. Gently press yours knees against the back of the upper arms and continue to shift your weight forward into the fingertips. One at a time, lift each foot off the ground. If necessary, bend the elbows for balance. Keep your gaze ahead and stomach drawn in. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
The Twisted Chair Pose: Stand with feet together. Inhale as you reach your arms overhead. Exhale as you bring your hands to your heart, bending at the knees and twisting your torso to the left. Hook your right elbow outside the left knee. Reach your left elbow toward the sky to open the chest. Press your palms together, keeping them in toward your navel. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
The Wheel Pose: Lie flat on your back, arms at your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet parallel on the ground, keeping your heels close to the sitting bones. Reach your arms up and rest your palms on either side of your head, fingers facing your shoulders and elbows pointed up. Inhale as you press your feet firmly down and lift the hips, engaging the thighs and buttocks. Exhale as you raise your head off the ground and straighten your arms, pressing into the palms and lifting your chest. Turn the thighs slightly inward, lengthening the tailbone. Allow your head to hang. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
The Staff Pose with Shoulder Stretch: Sit with your legs together and extended straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your foot on the ground. Wrap your left arm around your knee. Reach your right arm behind to meet your left. Clasp hands as you sit tall, lengthening your spine toward the sky and rooting your sitting bones firmly into the ground. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
What are the benefits of yoga for cheerleaders?
1. Yoga increases flexibility. This is a given‚ yoga helps you bend. But, yoga poses aren’t the normal stretches that an athlete does before and after they workout. Stretches in yoga activate muscle groups that lay dormant in other exercises as you twist your body in unconventional ways. This is great for cheerleaders, since stunting requires most of the muscles in your body! Yoga covers all of your major and minor muscle groups, and with persistent yoga sessions, you will not only get these muscles used to being activated, but also increase the flexibility of your muscles as you do. It’s a win-win!
2. Yoga heightens mental acuity. As you train, one thing that most cheerleaders overlook is their mental wellness. Cheerleading is fun, fierce, and full of challenges, which can sometimes lead to becoming overstressed and overworked. Yoga, and other alternative workouts, help to decompress participants through meditative breathing, focus, and channeling your energy away from mental stressors.
3. Yoga gives you more energy. Through the muscle activation and the mental meditation, you walk out of yoga feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Because of the downtime you’ve taken to revitalize your mental and physical health, you have (without knowing) fueled yourself with energy for other activities. Yoga is like taking a vacation for your soul‚ go away for an hour and come back to face the rest of your day!
Are you or someone you know an active cheerleader? Inquire about having a session with us to improve your cheering performance and to go into the game more relaxed and focused than ever. Here at Teesha Yoga, we have a lot of our athletic clients sign up for Athletic Yoga where we design the class to conform to their needs based on which sports they specialize in. Join us so we can inspire your yoga fitness journey and better your relationship with sports! Until next time, stay safe!