“Engage your core!”

“Make sure you stretch!”
“Focus on your breath!”
“Correct your posture!”

These are phrases we often hear in the athletic world, but does anyone really know what they mean, why they are important, or how to actually do them?  Joga is a cross-training practice originally designed for athletes.  Through Joga, participants learn howto properly engage their core, breathe efficiently, stretch safely, and optimize their biomechanics.  These key phrases are not simply stated in Joga; instead they are taught and felt.

Joga is a movement system that modifies traditional yoga poses to mimic positions naturally found in sport.  It is designed to optimize athletic performance and minimize potential for injury.

Athletes require a certain level of tension in their muscles to achieve maximum power.  Over-stretching can lead to instability and decreased power which will negatively affect athletic performance.  For this reason, sustained and passive stretching is not beneficial to many athletes.  Further, these conventional postures simply don’t work for bigger, bulkier athletic builds.  Joga offers poses that are designed for the athletic body and are tailored to lengthen muscle without compromising power.  Every pose is specifically cued which makes the practice highly individualized and safe for each athlete.  In this way, the system is designed to minimize risk of injury.

Another key focus in Joga is teaching the athlete to combine breath with movement.  Understanding proper breathing technique is essential for mental and physical strength, core activation, and overall athletic performance.  In Joga, athletes learn how and when to breathe during movement and work to integrate breath with core activation.  The importance of “activating your core” is a highlight of all exercise programs, but most athletes don’t fully understand what that means.  Joga teaches the participants both when and how to engage their core safely and properly to increase efficiency of movement.

Joga trainers have worked with high performance athletes for many years including members of the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, BC Lions, and the Vancouver White Caps, to name a few.  Don’t let this intimidate you though because you definitely don’t have to be a high performance athlete to benefit from Joga.  It is a program for everyone and anyone who wants to be fit and stay healthy.  The practice is challenging but fun and will leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the day.  So come out and give it a try!

Vanessa Milot is a Physiotherapist at OHP and a Certified Joga Instructor.  She teaches classes weekly at various locations and venues throughout Kelowna.  For a complete calendar of Vanessa’s class times and locations or to see a video about Joga, see the “Joga” Page on www.milotphysio.com.  She is looking forward to seeing you on the mat soon!