As part of my Yoga for Athletes teacher training (with Sage Rountree, who by the way is an excellent teacher), I had to write a blog post about yoga and how athletes could benefit from it by incorporating it into their training. So naturally, I chose baseball but this can obviously be applied to many other sports!
By the way, I am teaching a Yoga for Athletes class at Liberty Life Yoga on Oct 14th at 12:15pm...would love to see you there! And now, the blog post:
I have been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. After becoming a yoga teacher, I began to watch (Major League) baseball with a more critical eye. I started to take note when players got injured, their types of injuries and whether or not they would continue to play through their injuries. I found myself wondering if baseball players incorporated yoga into their training routine - could it help reduce the likelihood of injuring and minimize the “burnout” feeling towards the end of the season???
I would recommend the following poses to help complement their training program by maintaining strength, increasing flexibility (when needed) and helping a player develop focus during a game.
Pose for Pre-Season - Alternating Downward Dog and Plank
Downward dog is a great pose for the pre-season as it strengthens and stretches both the upper and lower body. Plank helps to build core strength, which will be especially beneficial for catchers whose low backs have a tendency to become overstretched from holding the crouched stance for long periods of time. Plank also helps recruit the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint as well as the quadriceps to assist the core.
Pose for Season – Alternating Low Lunge and Runner’s Lunge
This is great pre-game stretch as it warms up the quads, hamstrings and hip flexors without compromising muscle strength. The key is to stretch dynamically – holding the poses for no longer than 2-3 breaths. Arms can either be raised toward the ceiling during the low lunge or for an added stretch for the front of the body the arms can be clasped behind the low back.
Pose for the Post-Season – Legs up the Wall
This pose should be done after each playoff game as it has both physical and mental benefits. Physically, it relieves tired leg muscles and helps reduce swelling in the legs and feet. Mentally, it helps calm the nervous system (which can be in overdrive especially during a playoff game) and it helps quiet the mind.
The poses above are just a small sample of the many possible poses that can help limit a baseball player’s time on the disabled list. It is important to note that the types of yoga poses that will benefit a baseball player will differ at each point in the full training season – from pre-season to the playoffs.