More and more swimmers are incorporating yoga into their training to enhance their performance and improve their wellness. One of those swimmers is 2016 United States Olympian Tom Shields.
Shields, who also holds the American records in the short course meters 50, 100 and 200 butterfly, has been doing yoga since 2010. That is when Nick Folker, his strength and conditioning coach at the time, gave him an ultimatum and the motivation to find a way to increase his mobility, “It was the need for flexibility and mobility,” says Shields. “Nick Folker told me he would not let me lift or do certain exercises until I became more proficient in those areas.”
Currently Shields does a structured yoga practice three to four times a week along performing a few poses everyday. The two styles he practices most are vinyasa and yin. The emphasis on which style changes at different points in his training.
Through a consistent yoga practice he has experienced many more benefits than just increasing his flexibility and mobility, “Eating well, sleeping well and believing well. Yoga is a part of all that.”
In fact Shields does not like to think of his yoga practice being restricted to his time on the mat, “I like to think I practice yoga at all times.”
But when he is on the mat he definitely has a favourite pose, “Pigeon, for sure.”
You can learn how to do pigeon in this pose tutorial brought to you by Swimming Specific Yoga the world’s premier website for online yoga classes, courses and content designed for swimmers.