Paulette Egan, SportsYoga therapist and coach.
Sport and Yoga may seem at the two opposite ends of the spectrum but in 2011, I combined them to complete the missing link in sport. In fact, the connection is so powerful; it would be like trying to separate day and night, or black and white. I am a highly-qualified yoga instructor with diploma’s in Yoga Therapy and Yoga Nidra therapy.
Over the years, I have worked with many high-profile athletes from Olympians, Irish mountaineers, golfers, Munster rugby players and county GAA players, the list goes on. Yoga has become a lifestyle for me and I have been practicing for over twenty-one years. I own the Loft Yoga Studio Clonlara, Co. Clare ideally situated on the banks of the River Shannon. As the crow flies I am within minutes’ drive fro
m University of Limerick.
The University of Limerick is renowned for their world-class sport training facilities and over the years I have had the honor of working with elite athletes who have been training and living in the high-altitude house in UL.
I am very excited to be the SportsYoga coach for Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run 2017 and I will be posting up video’s and blogs to help you prepare for the race. The countdown is on but we have nine weeks to ensure that you will enjoy your run. I would like to organize a question and answer hour on the BHGLR FB page so if you have any queries, you can ask me directly.
I love the passion, energy and power that surround sport, but I feelthat the world of sport training is missing the final chapter that can make the difference. Learn to live your sport rather than just play it. The concept of SportsYoga is to train sports enthusiasts to create balance in their lives. Set the cornerstone of your sporting endeavors on pride, commitment and passion and build a solid foundation in your sporting career of self-belief, free will, ease of movement and equilibrium. Hence my slogan “Take your Sport to another level with SportsYoga.ie”.
Invest in yourself, gain the winning formula and learn to live your Sport
My name is Paulette Egan founder of SportsYoga.ie. I have 25 years experience in yoga and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with you. I will be writing blogs and sharing videos so that you can introduce yoga into your training routine. Today I am blogging on how correct posture will improve your stride and make you feel more confident and run faster! How many of you have seen other runners with poor posture. By working on your posture you will resolve many running form problems.Read More
Runners have a tremendous amount to gain from adding yoga to their fitness regimen. A running stride involves only the lower body movement in one plane as in forward and back. Some muscles become strong while other are underused and remain weak.
At SportsYoga.ie I recommend that you have a look at my videos but first take off your shoes and socks and be aware of the correct alignment of your feet. Are you feet pointing forward and are you arches lifted. Fallen arches can be the primary cause of leg, pelvis back and shoulder misalignment.
This week I will be posting up short videos to help you to stand tall, feel light and run faster !
1. The perfect posture for running
2. Prevention of slouching shoulder and jutting chin.
3. Strong powerful legs to run faster
4. Lifting fallen arches.
5. Rock solid core
These videos are short and to the point and easy to implement into your training.
I teach my SportsYoga.ie classes in UL Sport Arena every Wednesday and my own yoga studio- The Loft Yoga Studio Clonlara, Co. Clare. Feel free to call me if you are interested in a mat!
BLOG NO. 2
Stretch Daily Before the Great Limerick Run
Beep, Beep, Beep! The sound of your alarm is the LOUD signal of a bright new day.
As you emerge from beneath your warm and cosy duvet, every movement you make is a sign that the day has indeed begun. For most of us, the first few movements we make every morning are slow, stiff and uncomfortable.Read More
I guess you could say that each subtle shift your body makes is like a pending volcanic eruption. The more movements you make the more momentum and strength you gain. Each movement is a catalyst that leads to more and more movement until your body erupts like a mighty volcano into the mother of all stretches. Your duvet will get kicked into the area while your arms and legs will get dispersed to all four corners of the bed.
Little did you know that your morning ritual of stretching is very important for you. However, for many people this is the most stretching they’ll do all day. Unless of course, someone left the biscuit tin on the top shelf or you’re bending down to pick up your phone…
As you begin your training for the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run it is imperative that you start stretching. Stretching is a simple activity that can bring about amazing benefits in the long-term. There is no better place than a yoga class to practice your stretching and to ensure that you are doing it correctly. Yoga stretching is huge effective and here are some of these benefits:
Increased Circulation – Yoga stretching increases your blood flow levels and circulation. This results in a healthier body. Your energy levels will increase as stretching helps your blood reach all the muscles in your body. It also results in a clearer mind as oxygen is reaching your brain more effectively. A healthier body with increased energy levels and a clearer mind will significant benefit you in your training for the Great Limerick Run!
Flexibility – Yoga stretching reduces muscle tension your body. If you begin training with tight muscles you will leave yourself vulnerable to injury. And injury is something you definitely want to avoid! Yoga stretching loosens your muscles and enhances your flexibility. Flexibility is vital if you want to improve your performance consistently in training.
Injury Prevention – Incorporating yoga in your training schedule will help reduce your chances of suffering injury. Failure to add any level of stretching into your schedule means that your body will not be prepared for the physicality and endurance of a marathon and this will result in serious injury. Yoga stretching can help you reduce the threat of injury and prepare your body for a great performance.
These three benefits show you that yoga stretching is extremely important element to include in your training schedule. You can do this by yourself at home or in the gym but it is well advised that you seek assistance from a professional trainer beforehand. However, your best solution is to attend my SportsYoga class! The best form of stretching is through yoga class as it tackles every muscle in your body and strengthens them. Wear top quality Irish designed Yoga Leggings and show them how great you are with I-SPY!
So with all that said, remember that instead of just stretching in the morning, you must be stretching consistently to guarantee that your body will be fully fit for the Great Limerick Run. There is also a fine aul stretch in the evenings too! So it’s the perfect time to begin your training!
Best of luck and remember to register today.
BLOG NO. 3
Yoga on the Run
If you are a runner training for the Barrington’s Hospital, Great Limerick Run, Yoga is a great addition to your training schedule but it can be hard to set aside dedicated time with your mat when you need to run every day also! But the good news is that you don’t need to spend a massive amount of time practicing yoga to notice the benefits.
Read More Try adding even a few minutes of yoga into your day and your muscles will be thanking you! Try sneaking these poses into your daily routine and you will keep your body supple and stretched and ready for your run. You may get a few funny looks from family, colleagues and friends but it will all be worth it when you cross that finish line! So go for it, you’ll be amazed how much yoga you can fit into your day and slipping on a pair of I-spy liquid mercury yoga leggings will make it even easier to squeeze some yoga into your day!
Bend your knees and draw your heels in toward your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open to both sides.
Try adding even a few minutes of yoga into your day and your muscles will be thanking you! Try sneaking these poses into your daily routine and you will keep your body supple and stretched and ready for your run. You may get a few funny looks from family, colleagues and friends but it will all be worth it when you cross that finish line!
So go for it, you’ll be amazed how much yoga you can fit into your day and slipping on a pair of I-spy liquid mercury yoga leggings will make it even easier to squeeze some yoga into your day!
BLOG NO. 4
Mindful Strides and Visualisation of the Race
Run ,run, run, Have you ever thought why you are running, or are you preparing for Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run. Either way I am going to share some of my simple tips on mindful strides and visualisation of your race. How many of you train with the main focus on your body, some may focus on the mind body connection but how many of you focus on the full package of mind, body and spirit. At SportsYoga.ie I have developed a new concept in sport training which will help you to rethink your training programRead More
The race is only 6 weeks away and you may find that you are getting fretful or stressing out about workouts, getting aches and pains where you never had them. If the answer is yes, you need change your way of thinking. Consider alternating workouts every-other-day. alternating running and cycling, or running and swimming, or better still try yoga! When you run mindfully, you are aware of everything that is going on inside and outside of you. Since you’re not trying to force anything, but just being with the run, you begin to feel the connection with your surroundings and even your fellow runners. This helps you let go, in a sense, just taking it all in, and running in a state of bliss. I know that this sounds cliché but if you want to be change your running form, you must become mindful. I work with individual athletes on mindfulness of their sport.
2. Ease Off Full Throttle
Have you reached a block in your training. Your mind is telling you to power on but your body is screaming at you to back off. I would recommend that you train at low intensity every second day. Remember masking the problem is never the answer. However, there are still great benefits to rest and doing recovery work, to allow inflammation to subside, to relieve tension, and working to remove knots or tight spots. This does not mean you should ignore the root of the problem. Far from it, as doing so only invites even more challenges as the race approaches. Now is a good time to introduce visualisation techniques Yoga Nidra is one method that I teach, so while your body is rebuilding in strength, you can make that connection between the body and mind with a personalised visualisation. Even after two weeks, you will be back on track and feeling better than ever.
3. Posture is Key
When it comes to running, we often work hard on our form, drills, intervals, and everything and anything to do with our training. However, we only run perhaps an hour or two a day. Good posture is one aspect of my program that you can work on 24/7. When you become aware of good posture on a moment to moment basis, it transfers over to how you run. Strong core is essential but awareness of how to hold the upper body is crucial to key performance. I will be posting up videos to help you achieve this simple change in your way of thinking.
4. Slow Your Pace
You may be saying to yourself, I want to run faster not slower but trust me on this one. You must slow down, tune into your breathing and learn to breathe in unison with your footfall. My second principal of SportsYoga.ie is respiratory conditioning and I teach many techniques to condition and improve your overall efficiency to ensure that you will run smarter and faster .Your breath then becomes a mantra which is a repetitive word or short sentence that you repeat mentally to yourself to keep you focused. Depending on your race, your mantra might change during the race to avoid crashing into that wall! Build slow and consistent and enjoy a stronger and more powerful you.
5. Visualisation of your Race
Visualization is a powerful tool for athletes. When we visualize performing an action, it activates the same brain areas we use when we actually perform that action. Visualizing a race primes your mental muscle the way speedy intervals condition your legs and lungs. By mentally rehearsing running relaxed and steady, your brain will become accustomed and you will automatically run your race relaxed and steady. However preparation is a key factor but you still have time Register Now . Dedicate 5 minutes daily to train yourself to quieten down.
- Rehearse the race, the starting line, the stumbling blocks, the weather, the people, see yourself being in control of your breath.
- Be realistic and remember it will not be all sunshine. You have to visualise that the journey will not always be the perfect race so allow time to work around these areas that may happen on the day. You have to be prepared for a dog running out in front of you, a cramp or even having to stop at traffic light.
- Paint the picture that you want to see and spend a few minutes daily on the days leading up to the race. However these are only pointer for you. I offer one to one consultations where I help you to construct your visualisation and I record a personalised copy for each person.
The Great Limerick run is a fun day for all so you must enjoy the build up and love your training. My SportsYoga.ie classes will be the icing on the cake for you. I teach in UL Sport Arena every Wednesday and I have one or two mats available in my Loft Yoga Studio Clonlara so don’t miss out! We have 15% the I-SPY Yoga Range for mothers day . Namaste Paulette 0863183646
BLOG NO. 5
Hitting the Wall – Marathon Endurance
I have had a lot of runners ask me about marathon endurance this week. I’m sure anyone who is training for the BH Great Limerick Run full marathon will have heard of or even maybe experienced a phenomenon known as “The Wall” which usually occurs around mile 20, give or take a couple of miles. Your pace slows down, your legs and arms feel heavy, you can’t think straight, muscle coordination is difficult, and self-doubt starts to creep in!
You can hopefully prevent this from happening during your race if you have been training at marathon goal pace, have at least run a 20 mile route in advance of the race, fuel your body properly before the race and find comfortable running gear like the I-SPY Cobalt steel shorts
But if despite following all of the marathon training guidelines it still happens that you reach a point in the race where you feel like you literally cannot take another step, these tips will help you push through:
1. Fuel Up
Hitting The Wall is basically running out of energy. The most important thing is to stock up on calories. Simple sugars are best such as sugary sports drinks or fruit Juice. But do not gulp lots at once because there are limits to how fast you can digest, and drinking a lot at once can make you sick so aim for 150-250 calories to take in immediately followed by another 50-150 calories every 15-20 minutes after your initial intake, until you reach the finish line.
2. Slow Your Pace
Slowing down is probably not a choice at this stage as it is inevitable that your body will slow down when you feel really spent. But slowing down will also help you to digest the calories you have taken on board quicker and when you start to feel better you will know the carbs have kicked in and you can hopefully pick up the pace again.
3. Break down the remainder of the race
Marathon endurance is tough at this stage and difficult to focus on crossing the finish line at mile 20 when you know you have another 6 to go. It will feel impossible to your exhausted body and mind, instead shorten your immediate goal and set your sights on a closer point to aim for, maybe the next water stop or the next crossroad, breaking it down into smaller bite size sections will help you feel it is achievable, then,as soon as you reach that point, immediately set a new one.
If your brain is able to at this stage try counting to 100, it will distract your mind away from the pain and exhaustion of the wall and the rhythm of counting may even help you get back into your stride.
Visualise is essential for marathon endurance, Imagine something pleasant like what you are going to do after the race, how you will feel, who you will see at the finish line, recounting to them how you hit a wall but kept going, how good it will feel to have a shower, where and what you will eat. Like counting, a detail-oriented mental tasklike this can distract your mind away from the exhaustion.
6. Accept some pain and….. breathe
No matter how fit and prepared you are running a marathon hurts. Accepting this fact as part of your race gives the pain far less power over you. Expectthe pain and greet it calmly, focus on your breath, you may be surprised how quickly you’re able to push through the wall and find your second wind.
The Wall is something many runners hear about and fear, but it’s also something all runners are capable of overcoming. So, best of luck!
BLOG NO. 6
Mastering yoga breathing for a faster you!
Time is ticking by and with twenty five days to go to the BH Great Limerick Run, you still have time to get the most out of your body. Include yoga breathing in your routine and you will enjoy a super fitter you.
However, it takes years to master certain yoga breathing that will actually condition your lungs but I will share some simple tips with you and all I can say right now is watch this space!Read More
Deep breathing for powering on
Over the years I have worked with many elite athletes and across the board, not one of them every thought about their breathing patterns. The practice of yoga is immersed in breathing techniques and how to use your breath as you move. In a blog situation, I have to keep it simple and main stream but if you are serious about changing your pace, it is necessary to book a One to one consultation with me. For now I can only advise you to become aware of your breath and learn to breathe in and out through the nose. Start by counting to 4 on the inhalation and 4 on the exhalation. Keep the breath steady and slow. I can not advise you at this stage to move on to the next level as the lungs are very delicate organs and must be treated with respect. But believe me, I can help you to take your sport to another level with time and practice.
Improve the quality of your life
Fruits and vegetables get their colour from the micronutrients they contain. This is why it is so critical for you to eat all the colours of the rainbow. If you are running in BH Great Limerick Run, you must think energy, feel energy and literally eat energy! Increase your vegies and fruit intake for the next four weeks. Literally include the colours of the rainbow in every meal for optimal health and fitness.
Pumped up with Prana
First things first: What is Prana? The word pranayama extends from two words: prana, which is often described as life force, and ayama, which means to lengthen or stretch. In yogic traditions, the breath is used to control the prana and to help it flow properly through the body. Now we have established that Prana is energy that surrounds us. Imagine how better you would feel if you could tap into this amazing high powered force. The answer is yoga breathing.
Tip for you:
Learn the abdominal breathing because it is the most efficient way to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Let your stomach expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Take large, complete breaths and exhale fully. Ideally you should be practicing yoga breathing while resting. Lie on the floor and place your hands over your tummy, Breathe in through your nose allow the tummy to expand first then feel the rib cage expanding, front ,back and sides (no forcing) and as you exhale through your nose, allow the reverse to happen. This is a very simple technique which is a good start to a proper breathing technique.
Finally always breathe in and out through the nose !!
There is still time to Register now for the most exciting race on the May bank holiday weekend.
Join in to my classes either at my studio- The Loft Yoga Studio Clonlara Co Clare or UL Sport Arena every Wednesday at 6pm.
BLOG NO. 7
A step in the right direction – Kids Yoga
We know children take social cues from their parents so it is really important that your kids see you exercise regularly because starting this habit early could impact good health not only in childhood but in adulthood as well. Parents are busy prepping for the final leg of their training for Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run You can set such a great example for your kids by taking part in sporting and fitness activities so why not introduce your children to kids yoga.
The UL Sport Children’s Run for Fun will take place on Saturday the 29th of April so while you are recovering from your run, why not let your kids run free in the wonderful grounds of UL.
This fun event is sponsored by UL Sport and is organised by Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run in conjunction with Limerick Sports Partnership and the HSE.
Kids Yoga can have many benefits other than enhancing physical flexibility, it can refine balance and coordination, develop focus and concentration and in the fast-moving, technology packed modern world, can give them an opportunity to be mindful and strengthen their mind-body connection. Over the Easter holidays introduce your children to kids yoga and you can have fun together. You will still gain the benefit of that extra stretch. Here are 5 poses that I would recommend and you may be surprised at how much they enjoy taking part!
Stand with your feet hip width apart, lift your arms and reach out to either side, like the branches of a tree, to help you balance. Lift one foot, turning your knee out to the side, and place your foot either below the knee of the standing leg or above it. Breathing slowly in and out, bring your arms up over your head and imagine yourself growing like a tree. Slowly lower your hands to your chest, place your foot down, and repeat on the other side.
Start on your hands and knees, with your toes curled under. Breathe in, and, as you breathe out, lift your hips in the air, straightening your legs and pressing your heels toward the floor. Push your palms into the floor, with your fingertips facing forward. Look between your knees. Wag your tail, bark, lift one leg or the other. Be playful!
Plank pose helps in strengthening and energising the whole body. Start in downward facing dog, lower down your torso while inhaling till it becomes parallel to the ground. Keep your arms perpendicular to the ground. Only your palms and toe fingers should be on the floor. Stay in this posture for a few seconds. Lower down your body and lie down to relax.
Lie down on the floor while hugging your knees into your chest. Bring your arms along your sides, with your palms pressing down into the floor. Exhale and reach your legs over your head, until your toes are close to the ground behind your head. Never turn your head for the camera as seen above — always look straight up.
Child’s pose is a nice relaxing pose to finish your yoga session. From all-fours, come back to resting on your heels, with your arms stretched out in front of you and palms flat on the ground. Gently bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of your knees and lay your chest on your thighs. Slowly bring your arms to rest back aῬongside your body. Stay in this resting posture for several breaths.
Now that the kiddies are chilling, it’s time to regain your own focus. At this stage SportsYoga should be an essential part of your training and I am delighted to say that you can always look your best in our stylish and flattering yoga leggings which are designed by my daughter and I to ensure your modesty in every yoga pose. Treat yourself today. Shop on line at I-SPY.ie
BLOG NO. 8
7 Race Day Tips to Remember
As we approach B H Great Limerick Run it is important to make a “To Do” list. Follow my race day tips and once you are organised, you can breathe a sigh of relief .Step away from the Fitbit!! Like most people training for the run, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of your training, obsessively checking your stats after every training session and fretting over whether you have done enough! It’s time to relax now and have some fun, so follow our 7 steps to make sure you enjoy the day!
There is not much you can do in the final week from a fitness perspective, you have done the hard work, think of all the hours you have put in and the sacrifices you have made in the last few months. You are prepared and your body is ready! The best thing you can do for your body now is to get enough sleep and keeping hydrated.
2. Hydrate and Eat Properly
Drink plenty of water on the days leading up to the race, avoid alcohol and minimize your coffee intake for this week only!! Cut down on water intake on the morning of the race as you really don’t want to have too many pee stops. Choose your food and eat loads of carbs especially the day before the race. Remember to visit the water stations during the run.
3. Stop Thinking about the Race
You could say that all of the effort and training of the last few months is about to culminate in this one single running event but constantly thinking about it is just going to stress you out. Try to do something to take your mind off running for a bit, watch a movie or read a book, take a bath, give some attention to your other hobbies or spend time with friends and family that you have no doubt neglected in the last few weeks.
4. Check Your Running Gear
One of my most important race day tips is Do not put on a brand new pair of shoes because you think you are going to run better. It is ideal to run in the shoes that are already broken in and your feet and body are accustomed to. Wear suitable clothing. I can recommend http://i-spy.ie/product/running-kit/ which are stylish and comfortable and the kit includes a sports bra, running shorts and a micro fibre towel. Perfect for your day. Wear clothes that can be adjusted easily (running gloves, running hat, arm sleeves, etc). The last thing you want to do is shed clothing that was expensive and you leave it on the ground.
5. Family and Personal Matters
One of my favourite race day tips is to be selfish and think about you !! Double check on your babysitter, children’s needs and entertainment. Once the kids are happy, you will feel more relaxed. Treat yourself to a meal with friends after the race. There are so many wonderful restaurants to choose from in Limerick but book early to avoid disappointment.
6. Enjoy The Expo
Enjoy the Expo Soak up the atmosphere at the Expo when you go to collect your race pack. The Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run EXPO is a free event will take place on Friday April 28th (3pm to 7PM) and Saturday April 29th (10AM – 6PM) at the UL Sport Arena . This year the Expo will be even busier than last year with plenty of exhibitors, health advice, tips and experts. It will be good to mingle and swap tips with the other runners.
7 Remain Present and Stay Focused
This is the perfect time to increase your yoga practice as it will help your body remain stretched and flexible without taking anything away from your race day effort, it will also help you recover faster and will prevent injuries. Yoga can also help you combat nerves and tension prior to race day by promoting mindfulness which will help you stop your thoughts about the race going into overdrive.You are about to be part of something amazing, think about how great it will feel to cross that finish line, how proud your friends and family will be and how you will celebrate afterwards. Think of the race as a reward for all of your hard work rather than a dreaded challenge. Prepare some music to listen to that gets you pumped and into a positive mindset or maybe treat yourself to some new gear from I-SPY and finally find a nice spot in our home for your medal! Enjoy the atmosphere on the day and don’t forget to smile . Do not fear anything just be super-excited, because YOU are going to do it!