Yoga is a lot more than just a trendy way to stay in shape: a ton of pros believe in it for their mental and physical well-being. The advantages are plentiful including improving your strength, flexibility, stamina and balance. 

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Sam Querrey are just some of the players that have added yoga to their training schedules. 

On Monday, Tennis Channel joined forces with Yoga Journal for Rooftop Yoga at the Conrad Hotel in Manhattan to put on a class for a group of eager participants, including Tennis Channel's own Steve Weissman. 

Yoga instructor Karina Blackwood led guests through an hour long session accompanied by city views and healthy refreshments.

The unique beige mats are Corc Yoga Mats, which are 100 percent rubber-free, bacterial resist and non-slip, while the yogis were outfitted in Gymshark apparel and stayed hydrated with MOBOT roller water bottles. 

Here are five yoga poses you need to know to improve your practice, as written by Karina Blackwood.

1

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Your shoulders, neck, spine and hips will be given a stretch with this pose. Be sure to keep your feet planted on the ground firmly and your chest open. This will allow an increased flexibility in your shoulders and back, which will improve your tennis swing and give you a larger range of motion. Try to extend your spine as you reach into the pose; this will ensure a deeper stretch and allow your back to feel less stiff, especially if you try this stretch post-match.

2

Warrior II

This pose will relax any tight muscles in your legs that come from zipping around to hit the tennis ball. If you get you get tired out too quickly during tennis games, holding the Warrior II Pose can help to improve your stamina. By opening your chest and shoulders, you’ll improve your breathing technique and outlast opponents on the court. Open your chest as much as possible to get the most out of this pose.

3

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

This pose will relax any tight muscles in your legs that come from zipping around to hit the tennis ball. If you get you get tired out too quickly during points, holding the Warrior II Pose can help to improve your stamina. By opening your chest and shoulders, you’ll improve your breathing technique and outlast opponents on the court. Open your chest as much as possible to get the most out of this pose.

4

One Legged Plank (Eka Pāda Phalakāsana)

The Tree Pose promises to improve your balance and concentration. It also will stretch your shoulders and strengthen your spine for greater endurance during matches. Work your way up to Vrksasana, because balance can be tricky. Try your best to keep the bottom of one foot stuck in place on your opposite upper thigh—the pose will have less of an effect if you allow your foot to slide. Again, open your chest for this pose to stretch your shoulders the way they deserve to be stretched. Shoulders are a player’s most important assets; keep them strong and flexible.

5

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

If you’re looking for an all-around useful pose, the Camel Pose is great for stretching out basically every problem part of your body except your wrists. Use this pose to strengthen your spine, chest and back as well as improve your posture, which will prevent wear and tear in your muscles when you’re on the court. This pose requires some flexibility, so don’t be disheartened if you can’t do it perfectly the first time. The great thing about not being flexible is that, by practicing stretches over time, you have tons of room to increase your flexibility.

Blackwood has been practicing yoga for 10 years, is a member of Yoga Alliance and is a yoga instructor in New York City. 


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