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yoga blog

why yoga is a first draft pick for the NFL

why yoga is a first draft pick for the NFL

As the leaves were changing color this fall, a good majority of Americans were preparing for the NFL season opening game. The NFL players themselves were warming-up for the big day as well. For one team in particular, an important aspect of their training happens to be yoga.

The Seattle Seahawks first introduced hot yoga and meditation to their players as an optional form of activity several seasons ago. It became so popular and successful among the players last season that the Seahawks coaches decided to make it mandatory for the players this year. In fact, in an interview in ESPN magazine, Quarterback Russell Wilson states, “we do imagery work and talk about having that innovative mindset of being special. We talk about being in the moment and increasing chaos throughout practice, so when I go into the game, everything is relaxed.” Other players are also heavily weighing in about the physical benefits that regular yoga practice is doing for their bodies. They suggest that typical football injuries are occurring less and less, and the ones that do occur are healing at a much faster rate. Yoga poses make muscles more pliable and less rigid, and the mental state that yogic practice requires teaches relaxation and also discipline.

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While yoga has a much deeper healing impact all of these benefits are important aspects in performing at one of the toughest sports on the planet. Interestingly, the Seattle Seahawks are not the only team seeking to incorporate yoga practice into their training sessions. The New York Giants attribute a lot of their success to having practiced yoga for the past 11 seasons. The Tennessee Titans, defensive tackle, Shaun Smith vouches credits his practice of hot yoga for helping him lose 22 lbs., during his off-season. Kevin Boss who played tight end for the Giants and Oakland Raiders, was introduced to yoga while playing for the Giants. He enjoyed it so much that he began practicing at home every night during both the off-season and regular season, and still enjoys it to this day. Troy Polamlu, an avid yogi who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to 2 Superbowls, and won MVP in 2010, no longer believes in lifting weights and attributes a great majority of his successes to his yoga practice.

increase core strength

Tony Parrish, former safety for the San Franciso 49er’s used yoga to increase his core strength, and when he broke his fibula and ankle during a game he incorporated yoga into his physical therapy for healing and restoration of the injury. Even University and High School teams across the country are taking after their NFL heroes and incorporating yoga practice into their training as well. They note a significant decrease in injuries and better resiliency and flexibility of the young players’ muscles. Yoga is allowing for increased longevity in terms of these NFL player’s careers as well.

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Depending on the position they play, the average “life-expectancy” for players in the NFL, ranges from early to mid-30’s. This also depends heavily on injuries that occur over time and the potential of suffering a career-ending injury in just one game. With this variety in risk, depending on position on the field, the vast majority of the yoga teachers who work with NFL players break the teammates into groups for adapted practice.

yoga is for everyone

People outside of the yoga world can attach a stigma to the people who follow a practice. It has often been thought, by non-practitioners, as something that is practiced solely by women and a certain type of man. Now that the doors to practice are being opened by people openly speaking about taking part in yoga, it is easy for more people to realize that yoga is open to everyone. From very small children to NFL football players! It strengthens your body, maintains mental focus and clarity, relieves pain, promotes healing and improves balance and flexibility. The attributes that can be gained from the practice of yoga are wonderful and unique. There is virtually no aspect of your body that is not incorporated by the poses, the meditation and the yogic way of life. The benefits reaped, simply can not be matched in any other form.

Amy Koller

I am a stay-at-home mom and full time online college student. I love meditation and practise yoga in my spare time. Bringing my inner self to peace is one of the things that makes me forget day to day problems.

  • pam

    In the mid 90’s, Baron joined the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, and for four years he served on the coaching staff as the team’s Peak Performance Specialist, designing a program for athletes to enhance and improve their performance. Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles said: “When it comes to training champions, Baron Baptiste is exceptional.”

  • Malcolm Cannon

    Pretty cool article talking about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and how he “believe[s] that yoga is one of the reasons that [he] was able to play as long and as healthy as [he[ did.”

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlighthealth/2003-09-26-jabbar_x.htm