Here it is. The one thing you can do to maximise your summer sports performance. ADJUST.
Yes, you can boost your efforts in the gym and in training by simply taking on habits, routines and dietary choices that are in harmony with arrival of the new season and the cycles of nature.
This, my athletic friend, is the science behind what’s called Ayurveda, (pronounced ‘I-Your-Veda’) a 5,000-year-old conscious-based way of maximising your health and fitness. It’s intuitive and makes sense.
Now, it’s very easy to lose sight of what’s just simply wise. That’s ok. Often, we just need a reminder of what we intrinsically know.
Let this be your reminder. With the first signs of each season ADJUST your training.
Here’s why. Seasons equal change, and change can create imbalances in your internal and external world that threaten to sabotage your success.
What’s potentially throwing you off your A-game? How can you tell? What can you do about? All good questions.
I’ll walk you through 3 lessons that answer them all.
LESSON ONE: OBSERVE
Think of the characteristics of summer. It’s hot and it’s dry. Yes? It can be intense and bright. Agreed? I know, British weather – ok not always, but generally we have more daylight and the temperature rises.
Trouble is when these qualities accumulate in your environment, they also accumulate in your physiology and that will affect your athletic performance.
LESSON TWO: LOOK FOR THE IMBALANCE
If you’re getting angry at virtually anything, your unusually frustrated with your performance, or obsessing, it’s a sign you have an accumulation of heat in the mind and body. Ayurveda calls this Pitta Dosha. Now, the desire to bury your best friend into the ground (competitively speaking) is a quality most athletes possess (as an athlete you are likely to display the fiery qualities of the Pitta Dosha) but too much can be your downfall. Fire burns and can get out of control – let’s not torch a village.
LESSON THREE: BRING BALANCE BACK
The strategy for the hot summer months, my fellow active one, is to look at what’s accumulating in your external and internal environment (heat and dryness) and bring more of the opposite quality (moisture and coolness) to reclaim your happy place. When you do this, you achieve balance and maximise your health, vitality and performance. Sound good? Sound straight-forward?
Great. It should be EXACTLY that. Maximum benefit, minimum effort. It’s nature’s way.
Now it’s time to make those adjustments to your lifestyle and training which work with nature not against.
I’ve got 3 fundamental and straight-forward adjustments you can make today, to get you off the starting blocks. Let’s get straight to it.
ACTION POINT: 3 WAYS TO ADJUST YOUR SUMMER TRAINING PLANS
ADJUSTMENT 1: Stay cool and relaxed. Consider training during the early hours or cooler evenings. Take time to be still, reflect and meditate. Start with 5 minutes. Yes, you can. I’ve got some help for you. For my 7 Steps to a Meditation Practice go here.
ADJUSTMENT 2: Approach your training with ease. Don’t go too hard or too fast. This applies to your yoga practice, as well as any other physical activity/sport that you do. In your yoga practice balance heat building poses with cooling forward bends and easy twists. We’ll be working on this in the next Finish Strong Yoga for Athletes Programme. More on that here.
ADJUSTMENT 3: Drink plenty of liquids (water) and eat cooling foods that are naturally moist (cucumber, melon, celery). Start to observe the effect foods have on you. Some will create excess heat like mustard, curry, paprika, to name a few.
If you have excess heat in the body it will show up in your mind and body – so pay attention. If you start experiencing rashes, acidity, diarrhoea or notice your becoming hot-tempered, angry and over-competititive, you may have too much heat in your system. If you are having gas/bloating/constipation or dry skin, it’s likely you are quite literally ‘drying out’. So, moisturise and hydrate the body (and that means outside and in). Sorry, no, alcohol doesn’t count – it will simply dehydrate you even more.
So there you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you did I would really love for you to tell your friends and help me spread the yoga word.
You can find me on Facebook @yogalocal and on Instagram and Twitter @yogalocaluk
You can also join me for the next Yoga for Athletes Programme: Summer Strategies for Yogis-In-Training. More on that here.
Until next time, keep raising your vibe.