GUEST COLUMN: … triathlons and the breath …

Richard writes about how his triathlon pursuits have been significantly improved by breath work during his yoga practice

Swimming, cycling, running and breathing
by Richard  City of London  Dec 2018

triathlon pic

I have been training to compete in triathlons for about five years, and after making gains in terms of speed and technique across the disciplines of swimming, cycling and running, my progress began to plateau. With this in mind, a year ago I was seeking a yoga class to complement my training to ensure I could continue to make improvements in my performance.  This is on the basis that yoga is a key part of the training programme of most elite athletes (including triathletes).

I booked Priya’s hatha yoga class (not quite knowing what to expect), and haven’t looked back. The improvements have been remarkable, not only in terms of my core strength, but my whole body (in particular my spine) and mind are now more relaxed (which in a race is an important skill to have, as I often become tense). Priya has brilliantly (and cheerfully) guided our class over the last twelve months with a range of movements which have increased flexibility and posture, whilst challenging our minds and bodies in each practice. These sessions are now paying dividends, as I am able to take more efficient strides when I run (which has made me faster), ensured I am more relaxed on the bike by reducing my tendency to have tense shoulders which in-turn has helped me get more power with each pedal rotation.  When I swim my body is much higher and longer in the water, which helps me have a more efficient stroke.


One aspect of Priya’s classes which I was not expecting (but which is central to yoga) is breathing.  My breathing is now much slower and more controlled, which in-turn allows me to focus on my technique during my yoga practice and also whilst triathlon training.  As triathlon is an endurance sport, being able to control my breathing for a long period is key.  This allows my mind to focus on good swim/bike/run technique whilst reducing the stress on my body.

I still have much to learn (my balance needs a lot of work), but I would highly recommend Priya’s yoga classes to all athletes looking to improve their performance.