Softball Yoga Series: Game 3

Batter up! It’s the third and final installment of the Softball Yoga Series. These poses, along with poses from Game 1 and Game 2, are designed to compliment your softball athleticism (or lack thereof… no judgment here) in order to get you properly warmed up for your game and reduce your chances for injury.

Grab one of your teammates and join in on the fun!

7. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Fold)

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Standing wide-legged forward fold is a unique pose because it’s a bit of an inversion, yet you’re standing, and it’s a fun little ride all the way down. The variation pictured also provides the added benefit of a shoulder stretch, but you can add a twist to it or grab your big toes, too. Whatever feels best for you.

Benefits

  • Lengthens and strengthens the inner legs and back of the legs, including the hamstrings and calves
  • Stretches the spine and relieves minor backache
  • Promotes blood flow to the brain
  • Opens the front of the shoulders and upper chest

Tips

  • Feet are wrist-width apart if you were to stand and bring your arms straight out into a T shape. Outer edges of the feet are parallel.
  • Lift the arches of the feet to engage the entire leg and keep a microbend in the knee.
  • Hinge at the hips and keep a flat back on the way down.
  • Let the head hang lightly by gently nodding it yes and shaking it no.

Modification

  • Use a baseball/softball bat if interlacing your fingers behind you is too much for the shoulders.

8. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

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I usually include a low lunge pose in just about every standing class I teach because it is a perfect way to prepare the hips for the bigger postures. Since softball can put us in some odd standing positions, particularly for anyone catching a ball on base, it seems only fitting to include low lunges here. I’ve added two variations above, so you can choose your own adventure as to how deep you want to go.

Benefits

  • Releases tension in and opens up the hip flexors
  • Lengthens the quads, groin, and hammies
  • Improves your balance, concentration, and core awareness
  • Expands the chest, lungs, and shoulders

Tips

  • Standing knee is directly above the ankle — it does not go past the ankle… ever!
  • Draw the navel toward the spine to engage the core muscles and stabilize your balance.
  • Relax the shoulders away from the ears.
  • If grabbing the back ankle, be sure contact is between the earth and the area just above the back knee  — not directly on the kneecap.

9. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

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One of the most neglected areas to stretch is the outside edge of the hips and glutes, which is why this pose feels so amazing. And if you’re rotating your torso to throw to first base or swinging the bat for that homer, this twist will ensure you don’t hurt anything along the way.

Benefits

  • Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck
  • Energizes the spine
  • Relives fatigue, sciatica, and backache
  • Stimulates the liver… for the beer you’re probably drinking while waiting for your turn to bat (again, no judgment)

Tips

  • “Standing” big toe is pressed into the earth.
  • Push the bottom fingertips into the earth to keep the spine tall.
  • Use the breath to lengthen the spine on the inhale and twist with the exhale.
  • Pay attention to where the gaze feels best for the neck.

Modifications

  • Extend the bottom leg out straight in front of you if you’re uncomfortable with both knees bent.
  • Feel free to simply wrap the arm around the knee if bringing the elbow to the outside of the thigh is too much of a challenge.

So there you have it — nine sweet poses to use before and during your softball extravaganzas! That’s one for each inning if you’re playing a full game. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, first-timer, or haven’t played in fifteen years… if you’re in it to win it or just here for the beer… grab your batting buddies and yoga your way to the big win!

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