View Full Version : Yoga class following swim--and allergies

July 13th, 2009, 06:11 PM
Hi all,

On Sundays, my Y has a 3 hour lap swim period--good chance to get in some extra yards--and since there's a yoga class which comes about an hour after I finish my swim workout, the two would seem to dovetail perfecctly into my Sunday schedule.

All good but a couple issues:

1. All the emphasis on breathing through the nose in yoga doesn't seem to square too well with the nasal allergy symptoms I get soon after swimming--no big deal after most swims, but not when I'm trying to concentrate on breath. Yoga seems actually to alleviate allergy symptoms somewhat, but I still find myself wanting a box of tissues beside me in the class... Fortunately, I've gotten through the classes all right but wouldn't mind feelinga bit more comfortable with the breathing.

2. A lot of holding poses + more yards than during the week = sore arms/shoulders the next day. I don't want to give up those Sun. morning swims... least crowded time for lap swimmers and three-hour stretch of time (not that I swim three hours, though, just nice not to have to rush to complete a workout)... and Sun. is when time most allows me to take the yoga class.

My yoga instructor feels that it's better to have the class be my only workout, but hey life has a way of being complicated like that. ;)

Do others here mix the two and how do you handle either or both of the afroementioned problems?

July 13th, 2009, 06:24 PM
The yoga breathing is more of a relaxing/cleansing thing, if you breath regular you will still probably get most of the stretch.
Be careful doing planks after a long or hard swim. I hurt one of my shoulders doing fully extended planks in yoga right after a hard swim.
Most good yoga teachers I've had are very serious about it and they think yoga is all you need. That might be true, but I don't think so and I use it more as a supplement than a workout. I used to do a 90 minute intermediate Vinyassa Flow class. I felt NO cardio benefits from this practice.(the teacher and other students felt like it was very aerobic?)
It probably depends on what you are used to.

July 13th, 2009, 06:47 PM
I do mix a major yoga practice and swimming on the same day but I always do the yoga first (well, when life allows!) and the loose and limber and slightly spent feeling I get from having yoga as a "warmup" makes my swim extra sweet. I agree with Bobinator - most yoga teachers are true believers and think yoga is all you need - there's no need to drink that kool-aid. But I have been in power yoga classes that were as aerobic as any swim workout --- guess it all depends on the instructor and the aerobic capacity of the students

Keep some tissues handy and keep practicing! I'm enough of a true believer to think that everyone needs at least a little yoga in their lives


July 13th, 2009, 07:13 PM
I used to do Flow classes like Bobinator mentioned, but never on the same day as a swim. My schedule used to be a Sunday evening flow followed by a Monday morning swim. One thing I do know (and a reason for me to figure out how to add my yoga back in) is that I felt noticeably better in the water on mornings after I did yoga.

My comments on your specific questions:

Go for it, but take it easy the first time you do it and pay attention to your body. Every yoga instructor I've ever worked with has preached "it's your class," so take the extra child's poses when you need to rest.
I think your yoga instructor might be smoking something if she/he thinks it's fully aerobic. Keep the swim in there.
Possibly mix in more kicking (without a board to give your shoulders / arms a rest) into your Sunday swims. Doing "back balance" and "sweet spot" drills from Total Immersion are great ways to not only work on balance and head position, but focus on kick and your core while giving your shoulders a rest.
Also consider more breaststroke in the workout as that (for me at least) doesn't stress the shoulders as much.

July 13th, 2009, 08:25 PM
I vote for sticking with both.

Can you pop a benadryl after swimming without falling asleep in yoga? That might help the allergies.

July 14th, 2009, 09:38 PM
Good thread! I studied Yoga about 30 years ago with some Iyengar instructors in England and did some classes later in DC. I haven't done classes for a long time, but do some practice every day, especially an elongated Sun Salute as soon as I get up. If I did not do some, my back would be a tight mess. I guess it loosens me for swimming. The power stuff and that done in very high temperatures seem to be faddish to me. Don't like the idea and won't be a part of any of that. I agree that it is not particularly aerobic and would not give up swimming to do it. Consider them complementary. Being able to use relaxed concentration before races is also helpful. When I was a kid, I use to throw up or get sick before big races. (As another side effect, Yoga also helped my darts game a lot!)

To answer the other part of the query, I used to blow my nose most of the day after a long morning swim, and had other bouts of sinus trouble over the course of a year. Now after I do my Yoga and before I swim, I rinse my nose with a Neti pot, using lukewarm salt water (1 cup to 1/4 teaspoon). Since starting this about 4 years ago, I have had exactly one three-day bout of either a cold or allergy (who knows?) and I am not blowing my nose but once or twice at most after swimming, even after a 90 minute workout.

Hope you can figure out how to keep from the soreness. You could try being aware of the parts that get sore during the swim. Maybe some of those parts are too tense, or it could be that the Yoga instructor is not having you do the poses just right.

Good luck, and let us know what happens!

July 15th, 2009, 12:37 AM
I love the combination of swimming followed by yoga; I think the swimming warms me up for yoga. On the combo days, though, I swim on my own (not with a team) and do a moderate intensity swim, instead of a lot of sprints.
I take a 24 hour allergy med and find it pretty much eliminates my post swim nasal symptoms, but everyone is different when it comes to allergies. As for the soreness--for me yoga is similar to weight training in that if I only do a class once a week I get sore from it but if it more often, the post workout soreness goes away. And I agree with the person who said to personalize your yoga and emphasize stretching and/or resting if you've done a hard swim.

July 15th, 2009, 08:18 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

I'll check out the TI drills. My breaststroke is so slow I get impatient with it even after some work with a coach on my form, so I don't it to occupy too much of my workout, but might be good during warm-up/cooldown.

Have found that "child's pose" very handy at certain points in my yoga class! Not quite enough of a pretzel for some of those poses, especially those that require quad flexibility (the old runner's knee issues... which I think the class will ultimately help).The plank and "down dog" positions offer some challenges too right after swimming.

Benedryl makes me a bit too sleepy, but I sometimes find that if I take it with a cup of coffee, that cancels out some sleepiness. However, I don't like to have it before swimming...slows me down too much. But come to think of it, my Y ha s a coffee machine....

The "non-drowsy" allergy meds don't have any effect on me.

I reassured the instructor that my running and swimming background gives me the endurance to handle both swim and class. It's just a matter of strategizing how I handle them both.

There's a power yoga class one night a week and if I'm free, I try to get to it, although the Sunday class works better timewise.

Thanks again for the helpful replies!

July 15th, 2009, 09:08 AM
Many times I'll lift weights after I get done swimming. I'll also hit the heavy bag because I'm a glutton for punishment.

Once in a while, I'll teach a karate/jujutsu/self defense class after I swim.
But that's the exception, not the rule. I've found swimming wears me out to the point I really can't provide a good challenge for my students.


July 15th, 2009, 10:14 AM
As much as you might feel like a dork, try a nose clip during your swimming. My mom would sneeze all day long after swimming... so much so that it was obvious to anyone who knew her whether or not she'd been to swim practice that morning. She started wearing a nose clip and the symptoms went away 100%. I can't emphasize enough what a difference that $1.29 nose clip made... it was a lifesaver... she was worried that she'd have to quit swimming.

Btw, the symptoms only would show up after swimming at her practice pool. Other pools, no sneezing.

As for the yoga after swimming, just keep doing both. :)

July 15th, 2009, 07:51 PM
As much as you might feel like a dork, try a nose clip during your swimming.
I concur. When I first learned to swim at the ripe old age of 28, I was far too busy trying not to drown in the pool to notice the symptoms. Later on I noticed that I sneeze a lot after leaving the pool, and then I started having a runny nose during swimming as well. Swimming with a stuffy, itchy nose was getting unbearable. Eventually I bought a nose clip and have never looked back since. I look like an idiot but it's worth it.

July 16th, 2009, 08:48 AM
i take pilates. but have taken yoga. usually it is before i swim or on days i don't swim. l too have constant stuffed nose, depends on the pool.
i am one of those wierd swimmers who blows out nose and mouth in pool. always done it. i wear a nose clip- if working with monofin or snorkel though.

July 16th, 2009, 10:20 AM
I concur. When I first learned to swim at the ripe old age of 28, I was far too busy trying not to drown in the pool to notice the symptoms. Later on I noticed that I sneeze a lot after leaving the pool, and then I started having a runny nose during swimming as well. Swimming with a stuffy, itchy nose was getting unbearable. Eventually I bought a nose clip and have never looked back since. I look like an idiot but it's worth it.

Given my swimming speed, pride isn't an option anyway. :cane:

So, sure, I might well try the nose clip idea.