Cowboy Yoga: CFR Contestants give it a try

You wouldn’t normally relate yoga with the lifestyle and training regiment utilized by the rough and tumble cowboys who participate in various rodeo events, but that is exactly what Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) qualified rodeo participants Jake Marshall and Cole Neely have integrated into their training regime.

Linda Wiechnik, store owner of Target Fitness in Strathmore and fitness expert, has been training Marshall and Neely and has witnessed first hand the benefits that yoga has had in the men’s abilities while training.

“What I’m going for as their trainer is primarily to increase their flexibility, recovery time comes down to flexibility,” said Wiechnik. “When you’re doing something as intense as the CFR, as an athlete putting yourself through that, the more flexible you are the quicker you are going to be able to recover.”

Through the utilization of yoga, Wiechnik believes that Marshall and Neely have garnered increased body awareness that has helped the two in their training.

“I think athletes often get pigeonholed because they generally know the muscles and positions that they use all the time, but yoga helps you to learn what directions your body can go and what every inch of your body is doing.”

Since the pair have began implementing yoga into their regiments Wiechnik has noticed that technique has improved and the two are much more able to complete the demanding workouts she puts forth.

Wiechnik has also noticed that mental preparation has also improved since the yoga has started.

“I was really happy with the fact that they got a lot out of it mentally,” said Wiechnik. “The yoga has left with how to control their breathing and other techniques to relax, so hopefully they will be able to perform at their peak not only with being able to recover from an athletic perspective but being able to stay on the ball mentally.”

It is this mental preparation brought about by yoga that Marshall has embraced.

“Rodeo is pretty mental, so we through something in the training that was a little different,” said Marshall. “Trying controlled breathing is basically trying to keep focused. If something goes wrong you go back to those steps in your head that you process to go ahead with your ride.”

“Yoga is basically a control method.”

Though yoga may be perceived as some as not being manly, Marshall was never hesitant to try the techniques.

“I’m up for everything, you have to be open minded,” said Marshall. “The yoga and personal training has been huge.”

The flexibility and body awareness created by utilizing yoga is something that Cole Neely has noticed playing a positive part in helping to prevent injuries while he participates in rodeos.

“The way we all get bucked off, this just lessens the amount of injury we can get in to. The techniques we get here are something that we can go back to and draw on for experience.”

Target Fitness will be holding an athletes yoga workshop at the gym on Oct. 24 and encourage anyone interested in trying it out to come down and participate. The event will run from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Source: Strathmore Standard