Peter Twist, the author of Complete Conditioning for Hockey, says:
"To gain the freedom of movement that hockey players seldom achieve, a mix of static stretching, joint mobility, and myofascial release can help get the job done."
The yoga practice that players participate in should be designed to enhance on ice performance and be focused on injury prevention. To do that the practice must be designed to target areas of the body that are being stressed on the ice along with having strong focus on functional movement.
The timing of a yoga practice is also extremely important. If a player is using a yoga sequence as part of their warm-up the practice needs to be focused on dynamic mobility so the player's body is ready to engage in a practice or game. If a player is using a yoga sequence after an on ice session or game static stretching is an appropriate means of increasing mobility.
If a player is participating in a yoga class separate from their other training sessions to increase their mobility and recover from different forms of training or games a combination of both dynamic and static stretching is appropriate.
One of the most important areas to target for hockey players is hip mobility. The pose shown below is one of the best poses to open up through the hips and can be done in both a dynamic or static manner.
Lunge with hip opener
- Come into this pose from a low runner's lunge with your left foot forward
- On an inhale heel toe your left foot to the outside edge of your mat
- Place your hands to the inside of the left foot keeping your right hand on the ground bring your right hand out wider than your left
- On an exhale externally rotate your left hip allowing your knee to drop out to the side
- On an inhale you can stay where you are or you can bring your left hand onto the inside of your left thigh encouraging your hip to open up more. Another option is to twist to face the right side of the room twist to the right
- If you want more intensity in this pose you can lift your back knee
- To make this pose more dynamic place your left hand onto the inside of your left thigh encouraging the hip to externally rotate and on your exhale twist to the right. On your next inhale bring both your knee and your body back to centre and repeat that sequence.