What are you afraid of? Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and improve mobility and strength. This routine is so easy, even a Truckee could do it...
As a firefighter, it's time to embrace the incredible benefits of yoga by rolling out your mat and discovering the perfect combination of physical and mental exercises that have captivated practitioners around the world for thousands of years.
The beauty of yoga is that you don't have to be a yogi to experience its transformative effects. No matter your age, weight, or fitness level, yoga has the power to calm your mind and strengthen your body, two essential things that first responders, especially firefighters, need now more than ever.
Don't let yoga terminology, fancy studios, or complicated poses intimidate you. Yoga is for everyone.
Here's a fantastic routine that you can easily incorporate into your weekly workout schedule. I find performing this quick 10-minute routine at the firehouse helps me manage stress and improve my mobility. Give it a try!
When engaging in this routine or any yoga practice, keep the following points in mind:
1. Don't worry about what others think: It's natural to feel self-conscious and worry about being judged, but remember that this journey is about you and your fitness goals. Instead of focusing on external opinions, stay centered on yourself and the task at hand.
2. Don't fear the poses: If you can't hold a pose exactly as demonstrated, don't fret. Modify the pose to match your comfort level. This practice is all about personalization and adapting it to suit your own body and capabilities.
3. Remember to breathe: Avoid holding your breath at any point during the routine. Take deep, relaxed breaths throughout. Concentrate on maintaining a steady rhythm of deep breaths, as this not only helps you stay focused but also promotes a sense of calm in both your body and mind.
4. Connect with your muscles: Pay attention to your breath and be aware of how your muscles feel in each pose. By focusing on these physical sensations, you can deepen your mind-body connection and enhance the benefits of your yoga practice. Now, let's dive into the routine below. Hold each pose for 30 seconds and gracefully transition from one to the next, creating a flow similar to a circuit. Save the corpse pose, Savasana, for the end of the circuit, and make sure to hold it for one minute.
Remember to breathe deeply, relax, and unwind throughout the routine. Your mind and body deserve will thank you for this 10-minute experience.
A special note to all of you Truckee Firefighters who think Yoga is not difficult. I challenge you to try this 10-minute routine and report back on how it went. I guarantee you will feel it the next day.
Coaching Tips-- From a standing position, the legs are in a wide stance with the feet aligned and flat on the floor. The back foot is in a 60-degree angle toward the front. The hips are squared. The inner thighs are rotated toward each other. The front knee is bent in a 90-degree angle directly above the ankle. The arms extend up to the sky with the biceps by the ears. The hands can be together or separated and facing each other with the fingers spread wide. The ribcage is lifted, and the pelvis tucked. The gaze is forward. (Perform 30 seconds on each side).
Coaching Tips-- From a standing position, the feet are together and rooted into the floor with toes actively lifted. The knees are bent, and the weight of the body is on the heels of the feet. The pelvis is tucked in and the ribcage is lifted. The neck is a natural extension of the spine. The arms are lifted toward the sky with the elbows straight and the biceps by the ears. The hands can be together or separated and facing each other with the fingers spread wide. The gaze is forward.
Downward Facing Dog.
One of the most well-known yoga poses; Downward Dog is good for the entire body.
Coaching Tips- The body is positioned in an inverted "V" with the palms and feet rooted into the floor and sits bones lifted toward the sky. The arms and legs are straight. The weight of the body is equally distributed between the hands and the feet. Shoulders are squared to the floor and rotated back, down, and inward. The neck is relaxed, and the crown of the head is toward the floor. The gaze is down and slightly forward.
This is another simple but effective yoga pose to reframe your mindset and block out the world. It is also wonderfully comforting and relaxing.
Coaching Tips--Start on your knees, spread wide with most of the weight of the body on the heels of the feet. The forehead rests softly onto the mat. The arms extend to the front with the fingers spread wide. The gaze is down and inward.
This pose elongates and opens the entire spine and fully allows you to breathe in and out.
Coaching Tips- Position yourself on all fours, knees in line with your hips and your hands with your shoulders. Begin by arching your spine and tilting your head upward toward the sky. Hold for a couple of seconds. Then slowly reverse the arch in your back to a curved spine, while rotating your head downward toward the floor. Hold for another couple of seconds. Repeat this cycle for the allotted time. Remember to breathe and relax as you move….
Bound Ankle Pose
Coaching Tips- In sitting position, bend both knees and drop the knees to each side, opening the hips. Bring the soles of the feet together and bring the heels as close to the groin as possible, keeping the knees close to the ground. The hands may reach down and grasp and maneuver the feet so that the soles are facing upwards and the heels and little toes are connected. The shoulders should be pulled back and no rounding of the spine.
Seated Forward Fold
This feel-good fold elongates the back of your body, lengthens your spine, and stretches your hamstrings.
Coaching Tips-- Begin seated position, with both legs extended straight out in front of you, spine long. Press your heels actively down into the ground and flex your feet. Inhale to extend your arms up overhead, as you exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward over your legs, maintaining a sense of length along your spine. Avoid the tendency to collapse the chest and round the spine here to move deeper into your fold. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed away from your ears.
With every inhale, find more length along your spine and front body; with every exhale, move more deeply into your forward fold.
Great pose to stretch the hips and work the glutes.
Coaching Tips- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, hip-width apart, heels directly below your knees. Leave your upper arms on the floor. Press into your feet and slowly send your knees forward, wrapping your outer hips toward the ceiling; then lift your buttocks away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees. Relax your arms at your side. Hold this position and breathe.
After the bridge pose go back to the Warrior One. Perform the Corpse Pose for the last minute of the routine.
Corpse Pose- (perform for the last minute of the routine)
Yep, this pose is as simple as it sounds. Every yoga class includes a savasana, which relaxes the whole body and gives you space to absorb the benefits of the practice.
Coaching Tips- Lie faceup, bringing your legs to the outer edges of your mat, like a starfish. Splay your feet out to the sides. Place arms along sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes and relax. Focus on your breathe and focus on what you feel….
Hope you enjoyed the routine. Get in the habit of taking 10-15 minutes every day and every shift to quiet your mind, take a breath, and do some stretching. I guarantee you will feel more positive, happy and healthy.
Let me know what you think.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay FRF (fire rescue fit).
-Aaron Zamzow (ZAM)
Learn how to incorporate yoga and mobility exercises into a complete workout program. FRF just launched the FRF HERO X Program- a workout program you can do at home and the firehouse that will help you improve performance, lose weight, gain strength and manage your health.