Columbai Baseball Team Yoga Child Pose

Yoga has been growing on the professional level as more and more teams are hiring yoga instructors to work with the teams and athletes. The main issue is timing, where do we fit it all in. Are they doing it regularly or not so often, is it a nice to have or something that can be done, all the time? Is once a month or bi-weekly enough? If you are going to spend the time and effort to do it, why not full integrate the modality into the training regiment? The program needs to be bought in from the top down: management, performance coaches, strength coaches, athletic trainers, conditioning coaches, coaching staff, etc. It can be built and fully integrated into the fabric of the organization as a whole. You can even have and allow the team employees to work with the resident yoga coach for the team.

I’m advocating for Professional Teams to hire full-time yoga coaches, as they do for the other disciplines of athletic training and performance with the team. Be with the team 24/7 and travel with the team on the road. This person can and will work with the team pre and post game and also in-game, plus the off-season, 12 months of the year. It’s a process and should be done on a regular basis. If you going to do it every now and then, it’s harder to get the true benefits of the yoga and mindfulness practice for athletes. It must be adapted to the athletes and their specific and unique needs, per sport and even as granular as position per sport. This specific yoga practice needs to be brought to them on their level, not the other way around. They need: elasticity, mental training, centering, breathe work (conscious breathing / meditation), etc. It can and will provide them a true competitive edge and mental edge both on and off the playing field.

Their are so so many benefits to a regular yoga practice for athletes: reduce injuries, increase flexibility and mobility, improve efficiency of movement, can add years to their playing career, improves focus and concentration, allows athletes to reach there maximum potential, etc. Overtime, more and more sport performance centers and athletes are doing yoga. In my opinion not enough is being done and were only scratching the surface for this. I see it personally on my end from the high school and college level up. As the younger athletes do it, once they get to the pro’s it will be built into their fabric to be done regularly as part of their training. The athletes like the yoga practice and are seeing the benefits, if brought to them the right way. it’s almost opposite of what they are taught from youth, go, go, go, faster, harder, more. This is about slowing doing, breathing, less is more. They like the yin and yang aspect of training, plus the balance it brings to their training schedule on and off the court. Only about ~20/30 years ago did professional teams start hire part-time and then full-time strength, performance and athletic trainers. Colleges did the same, but most high schools only have regular athletic trainers, some have strength and performance staff. More and more Yoga For Athletes is working into the fabric of sport: high school, college and professional level. We are only breaking the surface. The pendulum is starting to swing and momentum has been built. We have a ways to go…

 

References:

Mariners Hope To Benefit From New Yoga Classes

Yoga Helps NY Cosmos Finish Regular Season Strong

The Zen Master’s Zen Master: How Phil Jackson’s Mindfulness Guru Is Helping The NY Knicks

Lebron James Extra Edge, Yoga