Should a man be doing yoga? Quite frankly, we think it is incredibly narrow minded to hold on to that out dated belief that yoga is the exclusive domain of the middle class yummy mummy looking to get back in shape, stay flexible and might be that little be hippy-ish. No, yoga can bring you a lot of benefits, so much so that it has become incredibly popular across the globe. Yoga is all about controlling your breathing in specific body poses which can help you increase your flexibility, stay strong and relax you.
As the benefits become better known to the world, so has it’s use in sports with specifically targeted yoga classes. We give you a run down on Yoga for Sports.
American Football Yoga
We think that sports yoga is the best way for guys to get into yoga and immediately feel the benefit. These classes are specifically focused on the kind of areas that can bring a benefit to your game, not just physically, but mentally. Certain poses are chosen for the benefits they might bring, including core stability, ankle strength, leg strengthening, etc. It has become so well recognised for its benefits that a number of NFL teams have dedicated yoga staff who run teams through sessions before games to get them limber and in the zone. The Seattle Seahawks, in particular, are huge fans of yoga, and if you forgot, they won the last Super Bowl earlier in 2014.
Something fresh and new that we’ve tried recently, is Ski-ram yoga. The concept is, essentially, the polar opposite of that crazy Bikram Yoga, where people sweat buckets in high temperatures maintaining poses. In a room around 4C, you do your basic poses to strengthen your ankles, your core balance, your legs and your butt. Quite obviously, this one has fantastic benefits for ski or snowboard related activities. Crystal ski have developed the concept for this season, but its something you can carry on yourself the moment you get out on the slopes.
Joe Johnson, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Kavni Garnett, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Big names. Big guys. Big into their yoga. A huge number of NBA players swear by yoga in keeping them flexible and in-shape for the big games, and more importantly, helps them avoid injury. It is about bringing a balance to their bodies, especially since these guys spend all their time running, jumping and working out to take their game performances up to the next level. Having that strong core and self-knowledge that yoga provides can make all the difference.
For those who think American football and the NFL is for girly men, and that rugby is a real man’s sport, you might be surprised to learn that even the New Zealand All Blacks find the time to do their yoga. That’s right, those guys who stand before the opposition team at the start of every match performing the ludicrously manly outpouring of testosterone that is the Haka. They do yoga. The All Blacks hired Lindsey Benn to lead their yoga classes on a regular basis, perhaps providing more of a mental bonus than just the physical flexibility and strengthening.
One of the greatest Premier League players of all time, the ever young Ryan Giggs, regularly does his yoga. He’s not the only Premier League elder statesman that believes yoga helped to keep him flexible enough to play through so many season. Tottenham’s old man Brad Friedel (40 years old), brought yoga to the Spurs. This was during their most successful season that saw them peak in the Champions League, and they even had geezer Harry Redknapp extolling its virtues.
We’ve also had a go at surf yoga in the past. Heading out to the beach at sunset is a lovely enough thought, but to go out there and get yourself relaxed and flexible, ready to catch the next big wave is something altogether different. A lot of the poses here focus on core strength, which is one of the most crucial elements in surfing. Another is keeping a clear head, reading the waves and being able to make the right move at the right time, something that yoga can help you do by keeping you centred, calm and collected.
Essentially, if these men can give yoga a go, why can’t you? It will bring a number of benefits to your life. At the very least, you might meet a nice woman or two at your class (but come on guys, take it seriously). Sports Yoga could well be the next big thing.