The Powerful Combination of Yoga & Football

Do you think of yoga as a mainly feminine practice? It’s a common misconception, especially when one you consider the 2016 Yoga in America Study report of 28% male yoga practitioners versus 72% female practitioners. What you might be surprised to hear is that many football players are engaging in yoga and incorporating it into part of their physical fitness routines.

The following are just a few of the NFL players who turned to yoga for training purposes:

  1. Victor Cruz, Chicago Bears wide receiver (Formerly of the New York Giants)

  2. Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins tight end

  3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback

  4. Torrey Smith, Philadephia Eagles wide receiver

  5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback

Yoga is growing in popularity among football players and for good reason. The most obvious benefit is that yoga promotes flexibility. This, in turn, allows players to move in any direction at any given moment. We often see players dodging opponents on their way down the field; improved hip mobility (which yoga practitioners often see) is certainly an asset on the field.

Another advantage for yoga-practicing football players is a clearer mental state, which enables players to eliminate distractions.

Carolina Panthers’ safety Mike Adams told Yoga International in February, “The mental benefits of yoga, for me, are a more relaxed mind—I am able to focus on more positive thoughts, and I can clear my mind and eliminate any stress I may feel in my life. Football players in particular can definitely benefit from yoga because the practice can help you build endurance, as well as become more flexible, balanced, agile, and strong overall. Unfortunately, athletes are prone to injuries, but yoga can also supplement our recovery and get us back in the game.”

A fascinating article in the New York Times in August 2015 had NFL players discussing how yoga helped them become better, stronger players. Wesley Woodyard, linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, recommended yoga for all linebackers. Explaining how linebackers often harm their back and rib bones due to frequent tackling, he began using yoga (specifically, the Dharma Yoga Wheel prop) to “open up [his] heart and back area.”

Pearl Yoga & Fitness is offering classes geared toward football players, taught by former Division I athlete/current yoga instructor Janet Gallo. Janet has more than two decades’ worth of experience working with athletes; classes will begin July 10th through August 28th and are $10 for one class and $30 for four.

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