Spring training is coming to an end and summer training is just around the corner, meaning you’ll be adding more load to your off-ice conditioning and developing new elements during your on-ice practice. Summer training can be gruelling. So, it’s a great time of year to talk about the concept of balance—between heavy training and recovery, and ensuring that you’re giving enough time to the things that matter most to you, both on and off the ice.
Physically, balance is the body’s ability to effectively re-stabilize itself after it’s been thrown off by an unexpected bump in terrain. Metaphorically, it’s the same thing in our lives off the ice; being grounded enough to steer ourselves back on course after we’ve been thrown off by unexpected life events, injury, or even difficult emotions.
So, how do we navigate the demands of the off-season trajectory?
There are of course numerous tactics that I could touch on here, including strategic planning and scheduling, meditation, or proper sleep and nutrition, to name a few! But I’m only going to focus on two of my favourite simple tools, both of which support healing, recovery, immunity, and mental and physical strength. The instruments I’m talking about here are the practice of yoga and the use of essential oils.
The word yoga means “to yoke”, or to bring together all aspects of the body and mind. Its essence is grounded in breathing, feeling, listening to the body, letting go of expectations, judgments and competition, and staying in the present moment. Its ultimate aim is to give you a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you. Yoga challenges you to pay attention not only to the body but also to your thoughts, words, and actions. You move fluidly with the breath from one pose to the next, creating strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance for greater health and mental awareness. I am not suggesting yoga as a replacement to your current off-ice conditioning program, but rather as a separate component that when practiced even once a week can keep you on your game and greatly enhance your overall training and performance.
Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants with tremendous healing properties. For centuries many different cultures have used these plant oils for a variety of health conditions. They are often used for relaxation and natural medicine. Adding some of the most common essential oils like lavender, peppermint, lemon, frankincense, and tea tree oil to your daily routine can help maximize your training. These oils have the capacity to energize or relax your mind and body, soothe sore muscles, balance hormones, improve digestion, and fight cold and flu symptoms. If you want to get the most out of your summer training and out of this beautiful hot season, essential oils are definitely a must on my list.
It is important to note that only certified pure therapeutic grade (CPTG) essential oils will contain these powerful and potent healing benefits. Not all essential oil brands are created equal and many contain synthetic or even harmful fillers. If you’d like to find out more on where to find CPTG essential oils and how to use them safely and effectively, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you already incorporating one or both of these tools in your training routines? If so, how are they working for you? Please share your questions and comments below.