Find Out Why Professional Athletes are Turning to Yoga

Speaking of Yoga and Professional Athletes… Join me Sunday, September 10, 2017 for a 60-minute Yoga Practice ON THE FIELD of the Kansas City Royals (2015 World Series Champions) where so many legends have played. The yoga class will be followed by breakfast and is open to the public. Last year 500+ yogis covered the outfield and it’s sure to sell out this year. Visit royals.com/Yoga

What do Lebron, Shaquille O’ Neil and

Keith Mitchell all have in common? 

They do yoga! Don’t believe me? It’s true! More and more pro athletes are turning to yoga to benefit and enhance their athletic performances. I have been lucky enough to see first-hand the benefits that come with athletes practicing yoga.  It’s currently more mainstream on the coasts but it’s becoming more and more a part of the practices in the regions in-between, and for a good reason! 

You see, yoga helps to build up the itty bitty muscles (the counter muscles) that aren't the primary focus in sport centered training regimens. Yoga helps athletes connect to their body and elongate their spine, legs, andcenter. It helps them breathe into areas of tension and enhances their body awareness which is essential on the court, field, or arena. For some athletes it helps to improve strength in weaker areas, it can help improve flexibility and consequently improve form, and improving core strength will always help athletes to improve their longevity along with performance.  

Yoga does more than help physically strengthen the athletes though; yoga helps athletes gain control of their mind. Professional athletes experience a high level of stress and pressure and it is imperative that they know how to tap into an elevated consciousness that brings them feelings of peace or control. This control of the mind and thoughts will help them zone in on their sport and experience a sense of peace under pressure. Pro athlete clients have said the main takeaway is that it truly helps them to look within, tune out the distractions around them and provides an outlet for the emotional roller coaster of the game - ON and even more so OFF the field. Off the field pro athletes are under a constant, immense amount of pressure from the public, media and the league. Yoga allows them to relax, unwind and focused on the season.

While teaching yoga to athletes it is important to keep one thing in mind: Yoga is not a one-size-fits all practice. Each athlete is coming in with a different story, body makeup, history, and willingness to try new things or postures. With that being said though, professional athletes are incredibly fun to teach because they’re already SO in tune with their physical bodies and they have no fear. If you encourage them to try a challenging pose they will often try it without hesitation; be ready to support their physical bodies and overtly cue! Many professional baseball teams are beginning to implement group practices in addition to their regular workouts: implementing yoga would mean following in the footsteps of hugely successful teams such as the Giants, Seahawks and Duke basketball team regularly practice yoga.

Are you an athlete who does yoga? I'd love to hear how you incorporate yoga into your lifestyle.