A Balanced Diet
If you've ever bonked during a training session or race, you understand, firsthand, the importance of proper fueling and nutrition.
One of the important steps in the yogic path is called "Saucha" which is the Sanskrit word for cleanliness. Saucha, however, is not just about being neat and clean on the outside, it also emphasizes cleanliness from the inside out, with important focus on diet.
Eating well, and remaining clean from the inside out, will help ensure you're energized throughout your workouts, sleeping well, and feeling your best so you can perform your best.
Starting a Yoga Practice
Perhaps you already practice some form of yoga—whether it's eating a balanced diet, or subscribing to "Sthira" and "Sukha" by resting your body when it needs rest and challenging it when appropriate. Perhaps you're interested in exploring the benefits of a physical practice as a way to prevent injuries.
If you want to integrate yoga into your routine, you should aim for 1 to 2 classes weekly. With the variety of yoga classes out there—from the sweaty, strength-building Ashtanga class, to a more alignment-based Anusara class, to a meditative, gentle yin class—it's easy to get overwhelmed.
Since no two bodies are alike and every triathlete has different physical strengths, weaknesses and goals, it's difficult to prescribe a yoga sequence or style that "every triathlete should do." Finding the right fit for you, on any given day, is the key to giving your body the balance it needs. For example, you might try a restorative class the day after a hard workout, or attend a strength-building class on a cross-training day.
What works best is to begin with a foundation and use your yoga practice to gain understanding of your body and tune into your weaknesses. If you already know where your problem areas are, tell the teacher before class. If you're trying to learn more about your own limitations and weaknesses, take note of which postures are particularly difficult for you, and then after class ask the teacher about modifications for them, and make a note to work on them at home.
Once you learn the basics, home practices can be a great addition to your routine. Continue to attend a weekly or biweekly class so you can continue to build a strong foundation, understand what you need to work on, and determine which poses are the best for you. This will help you grow your home practice in the most efficient way.
The Yoga Journal has a great anatomical pose guide you can use as a resource at home once you've identified your particular needs and know which areas you need to work on.
Remember, your ultimate goal is balance. Yoga helps you keep that in mind as you work toward your array of goals as a triathlete.
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