As a teenager, I was a member of the British Gymnastics Team from 1972 - 1979. It was during these formative years that, I have realized, how fortunate I was to have work with some of the best coaches in the country. Amongst them, Mrs. Pauline Prestige, MBE, a great advocate of yogic techniques for strength and conditioning. Others include, Yvonne Arnold, OBE, Colin Still (current British Team Coach), Mr. John Atkinson, MBE and Bill McLaughlin (Senior lecturer in Anatomy, Physiology, Statistics & BioMechanics at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, 1966-1994). Being eager to learn the “WHYS” of what I was doing, these coaches taught me to understand the biomechanics of my movement within my training, which advanced me in my career as a gymnast.
In 1976, I won a scholarship and spent some time in Vladimir in Russia to work with some of the top coaches in the world. It was here that I truly understood the blood, sweat and tears of training as my coaches pushed me to further understand the application of the principles of alignment and technique. It was in this year that I became World Junior Champion on the Asymmetric Bars. In 1978, I was part of the Silver Medal winning team at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada. An unfortunate ankle injury prevented me from participating in the 1980 Olympics.
Thirty years later, a stressful period in my life led me to a yoga class I learned would be good for stress. Hitherto, a critic of yoga,as they didn't seem to be doing a lot of movement. I realized I had gone full circle! I was fascinated and enrolled in a course to become a British Wheel of Yoga Instructor. An ‘Ah-Ha’ moment during my training led me to begin to understand there was an invaluable connection between yoga and elite level sports. The practice of yoga took me exactly back to where I had been during my gymnastics training - the gym! Though I had been taught yogic techniques to facilitate both and strength and flexibility, little attention had been made to the breathing , focus and concentration techniques I was now being introduced to. Learning this during my days as a gymnast would have had an enormous benefit on my training as well as competition, especially to reduce the stress associated with competing. I now understand the ‘in the zone’ principle is akin to the meditative state ‘Dharana’ strived for by yoga practitioners.
The final link in bringing all of my ‘WHYS’ full circle was meeting Hayley Winter, Founder of Yoga Sports ScienceⓇ. Becoming a Yoga Sports Coach™ has taught me the application of yoga in sports as they are the global leaders with the scientific research to back them on how yoga works in sports!
YSS Case Study Research Ultra Marathon Runner – 10 week Case Study
Can a ten week Yoga Sports Science® intervention impact upon the key contributory factors of the Running Gait Cycle:
By working on Core Strength, hamstring flexiibily and foot placement, all key areas of the athletes gait cycle improved. Additonal advantages showed improvement in running posture, forward propulsion and rebounding force.
My certifications include:
British Artistic Gymnastic Coach - May 2004
British Wheel of Yoga Teacher - December 2013
Yoga Sports Coach™ - January 2016