One of the first main keys is to have Props available for working with Athletes: yoga blocks, yoga straps and larger yoga mats. I always bring all the supplies with me to teams and private clients. Have: books, passages, relevant sport specific stories – sports psychology, positive motivation and leadership, etc. Weave these though out the practice and in savasana at the end (legs up the wall). Secondary Props: bolsters, yoga blanket, pinky / high bounce balls, miracle balls, bosu, balance disks, etc. Always make the practice and process accessible to them, even outside the yoga studio. For one, a yoga studio might be a turn off for Athletes – ego gets in the way and lack of flexibility vs others. Plus, the lack of men in yoga classes (minority compared to women). I’ve noticed over the years an upward trend of more men coming to yoga classes at studios and sport specific performance centers.

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Yoga For Athletes can be done in a: gym, on a court, field, track, classroom, lunchroom, open conference room, their house, etc. Wherever their is enough space – key is to bring the practice and supplies to them – comfort level increases. You can teach with no music and weave is sports themes and why/how the poses will benefit them as athletes for their sport. Depending on audience (athletes) you can play various types of music: R&B, potentially hip-hop, top 40, etc. The goal is to create an environment that Athletes are used to. Incorporate Breath work (diaphragmatic breathing) – to help them perform better and focus. Most Athletes are chest breathers and do not breath deep down into the rib cage and diaphragm.

The props especially Blocks bring up the floor to them if not as flexible and allow them to relax deeply into the poses. Straps allow them to get an active stretch, especially those that are 6/7 footers. If you do not have straps, other options are rubber exercise tools and bands, towel, shirt / sweatshirt – basically improvise as needed. The mats should be longer and winder for bigger athletes / men as needed. End with legs up the wall – great time to incorporate a few breathing exercises and short sport specific reading passages, positive motivation, etc.