Yoga Lesson Plan for Swimmers

Steve Krojniewski is the owner of True Balance Yoga.

Swimmers, whether they are competing at an amateur level, in the NCAA’s,  or for USA Swimming, are always looking for ways to gain an advantage over their opponents. That’s why so many are now turning to yoga to help complement their training in the pool, weight room, and in the area of dry land conditioning. Yoga has become a way to help aid swimmers with faster recovery times from delayed onset muscle stiffness to injury prevention. The key to recovering from their workouts and preventing injuries is utilizing proper alignment in the pool, having a strong core for balance, and using a deep, mental focus to master the “In the zone” moment. This is where yoga comes into play. This sequence,  which is one that I use with the Notre Dame women’s swimming team, will help all of these aspects, plus it will help swimmers realize that using props are a safe way to strengthen and deepen their practice (rather than viewing props as a sign of weakness).

You will need:

  • a block (a book or towel will do if you don’t own a block)
  • a strap (use a large towel rolled up or a dress tie for a substitute in a pinch).


Intention: To lengthen the spine, strengthen the core muscles for balance, open shoulders, and to increase focus within the moment.

Seated breathing exercises:  Ujjayi

Warm-ups: Standing shoulder stretch with a tie (with a block between thighs), side stretch, and standing jack knife.

Flow of postures:

  • Sun Salutations version Kripalu style at a slower pace (4 reps), adding the next poses into the flow to aid in focus and body awareness.
  • Warrior 1 (both sides), warrior 2 (both sides), side angle (both sides) with option of binding arms, mountain (with block), dolphin plank (with block between thighs), leg lifts, extended curls, open flow (hand stands, crow, scorpion, bird of paradise, pigeon).

Cool down: Seated forward fold,  supine spinal twist.

Relaxation: Corpse (hold for at least 3 minutes)

Guided meditation: Candle meditation – sit in a comfortable position and stare at the top of a lit candle.  After a full minute (10-15 long breaths), close your eyes and cover them with your hands. Focus on still seeing the light behind closed eyes. When you begin to lose the image of the flame, remove your hands, open your eyes, and begin to focus on the flame again. Stay for 5 minutes and then move on to your next phase of practice.

Steve Krojniewski is the owner of True Balance Yoga. He is a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor,a certified instructor from Sage Rountree’s Yoga for Athletes school, and he is a part of the Yoga Alliance. He has been a registered yoga teacher for over 10 years and has over 2500 hours teaching experience. He also is employed at Rolf’s Sports Recreational Center teaching yoga at the University of Notre Dame working with staff, students, and student athletes

He is also a Certified Licensed Massage Therapist. He received his training at the Holistic Wellness Academy in Niles, Michigan. 

 You can contact him through his website at

This post is not to be construed as medical advice. Please seek the assistance of a licensed professional before beginning your yoga routine.

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Gina Rhinestone
7 years ago

Real Yogis can get theirs resting pulse down to about 3 per minute . The downside is that you have to wear those turban underpants with skinny legs hanging out .

7 years ago

Very interesting article. I have heard a number of coaches say that yoga has helped their elite swimmers drop time when incorporated into their programs. Would love some video

dannette mcintosh
9 years ago

Great article! I will share with others.