Best Athletic Yoga – Flexible Warrior
My all-time favorite yoga practice is Flexible Warrior. Created by Karen Dubs in Baltimore, MD, Flexible Warrior is an athletic yoga practice that calms my mind, enhances body awareness, builds muscle strength, and improves my balance, core stability and flexibility. All of which are important components of athletic performance and everyday life.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 8 years now and have tried many variations of yoga including ashtanga, vinyasa flow, power, athletic, relaxation, restorative, beginner, intermediate. . . . the list goes on and on, but nothing has given me a complete workout like Flexible Warrior.
While living in Baltimore, I was a member of the Baltimore Area Triathlon Club and was blessed to meet and train with Karen. After taking Karen’s power yoga class I noticed a difference in my performance and training. I felt more stable and powerful, and I even improved my triathlon times. Many yoga sessions will help you relax and stretch, but after Karen’s class I also felt energized, centered, and stronger.
Flexible Warrior yoga sessions are also very easy to understand and Karen breaks down the poses for all experiences levels. They are challenging but never to the point of pain, and you feel like you got a great workout. Speaking of pain, yoga is a great way to build stronger muscles with flexibility, which helps protect the joints and prevent injuries.
When I first start a Flexible Warrior workout, the back of my legs usually feel very tight in the first forward fold (reaching towards toes from standing). After a series of movements and exercises, my hamstrings slowly loosen and by the end of the workout I can reach 3-5 inches further towards the ground. Also, while you’re in the different warrior poses, you use some muscles for power and stability, like the quads and hamstrings, but you’re also stretching another muscle at the same time, like your hip flexor. That’s a “two-fer” exercise to me!
If you don’t live in the Baltimore area and want a great athletic yoga for cross-training, Karen has 5 yoga DVDs: www.flexiblewarrior.com. I have the Flexible Warrior Multisport 3-Pack which includes the following:
- Flexible Warrior Vol 1: Athletic Yoga for Triathletes — Three 30 min. workouts to increase balance, power, flexibility, and performance.
- Flexible Warrior Vol 2: Athletic Yoga Cross Training for Multi Sport — Challenge your endurance in a whole new way to create a total body strength that is flexible, agile, and adaptable for peak performance. (My favorite!)
- Flexible Warrior Vol 3: Athletic Yoga Flexibility for Swim, Bike, Run — This sport specific stretch routine is ideal for off-season recovery phase and race competition season to speed recovery, prevent injury, enhance performance and increase your range of motion and total body flexibility.
Karen has over 15 years of teaching experience and has trained a wide range of professional and recreational athletes including The Baltimore Ravens football team and University of Maryland Men’s Basketball team.
If you’re a triathlete seeking a great cross-training workout or a non-athlete seeking a balanced yoga practice, I highly recommend Flexible Warrior yoga!