After logging in miles or a muscle tightening workout, the perfect way to work on alignment and flexibility is through yoga. As promised, we’re branching out and, through a discussion with Craig Magnano from a local studio Prana Power Yoga in Union Square, we bring you tips and basics on the benefits of yoga for athletes.
Craig has practiced yoga for 4 years now, after branching out from his typical gym, biking and running routine. With the goal of preventing too much of a “meathead” or bulky look, he quickly incorporated yoga into his lifestyle, and now teaches at Prana Power Yoga.
He finds yoga is mostly about balance. One physical activity, like running, is lengthening and shortening the same muscles constantly, where the practice of Asana, or the physical movements used in yoga, engages a lot of the body and taps into different muscle groups. Everyday activities and workouts can also lead to imbalances like a weaker hip than the other or a right foot that overpronates significantly more than the left.
Yoga brings awareness to all parts of the body, including any imbalances, Craig says, and in this way, the practice can help reduce injury and even improve your running or other physical activity.
Each Prana teacher has a different focus and style, but all use a flowing style where students can tap into a mindful state. Each session you practice at your skill level and can work up from that.
It’s not about where you are, but about where you are going, he says about those worried their flexibility doesn’t make the cut for yoga.
To stay comfortable during the practice, there’s a few apparel tips from Craig. He noticed a trend among his students, where males typically go shirtless with comfortable, stretch shorts and females wear a sports bra and tight-fitting shorts or long pants. The long tights may seem hot but it can provide traction on some limb-to-limb contact poses, he says.
Our experts recommend these popular performance items for your next (or first!) yoga session:
Tops: Women’s Prana Tank / Men’s Tasc Performance Tee
Bottoms: Women’s Anjali Yoga Pant / Men’s 2(X)ist Terry Sweat Pant
Underwear: Women’s Zensah Sports Bra / Men’s Icebreaker Boxer Briefs
Accessories: Natural Fitness Yoga Mat / Hugger-Mugger Foam Block