Yoga and Professional Sports

People keep writing to me with their questions about Yoga and professional sports… so I gave it some thought to share with you all…

There are so many reasons that athletes should be practicing Progressive Power Yoga, it would take a textbook by McGraw-Hill to encompass the information. I’ve been practicing yoga for the better part of 30 years now and it has kept me agile, energetic, focused and exceptionally strong, without ever making me bulky or rigid. I realize the need for alternative sports exercise in professional sports, such as agility drills, strength training, sprints and two-a-days in August. That’s all fine and dandy.

What I’m here to tell you is that without practicing Progressive Power Yoga, you as athletes are not working at your optimum level, physically or mentally. You are not creating a balance of strength and flexibility – the most valuable tool an athlete can possess, both for success and longevity. I realize that many teams in many sports have adopted some form of stretching and/or so-called hatha yoga into the regimens. The problem is, there is no other form of yoga out there that is even close to the practice I teach when it comes to being geared towards the professional athlete.

I was a three-letter athlete myself in high school and blew my knee out, to the point my athletic career should have been over. It was the 1970’s and surgeries to repair shattered patellas and crucial ligaments were, let’s just say, not quite up to par. However, I had a doctor who was years ahead of his time. He not only repaired my knee to the best of his ability at the time, he suggested I do yoga as my therapy.

Now this was the 70’s and I was a competitive athlete of 16 who thought yoga was wrapping a turban around your head and making funny noises with a bong in your hand. (Maybe there was some truth to this, but that’s another story.) What this doctor told me was that Joe Namath did yoga, and he was Joe’s doctor at the time, so who was I to argue? He knew Broadway Joe was my idol, and if telling me this got me to practice for the next thirty years, then he was even more of a genius than I thought. (As it turns out, I found out twenty-five years later the Doc was making it up, knowing I would fall for it and give yoga a try.) Boy was he a clever one!

I’ve been training TJ Houshmansadeh, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and one of the best in the league, for the better part of three years now. I have also worked with many other athletes from the NFL to the NBA to the NCAA, and the one thing they all agree on is that there is no other workout that combines so many different elements of strength training, cardiovascular benefits and flexibility training, while both making them feel younger and creating mental focus. Just ask TJ and/or ex-NBA All-Star Steve Smith. I’m 44 years old or I should say young, have had 2 different knee surgeries from competitive skiing as well as having had my right shoulder completely rebuilt (the latter 2 surgeries by Dr. Neal Elattrache of Kerlan/Jobe Orthopedics, the best surgeon in the world), and I’m faster and stronger than I was 15 years ago.

Thanks partially to modern medicine, however thanks greatly to my steadfast practice over the past twenty-eight years. I can still throw the rock fifty yards on a rope, not bad for a guy old enough to be some of the foresaid athletes’ father. Point being, it’s time you all get hip to the practice and I’m available to foot the need. Please take a look at my new series of DVD’s: The Sedona Experience, and give us a call to arrange private sessions. BTW the two men in the DVD’s are triatheletes, one girl a runner, one a dancer, and the other never before practiced yoga. Its time! Make it Happen!!

As an athlete myself, I have always taken care of myself so that I would always be able to play whatever sport I was playing at the highest possible level. Now I’m 44 years of age, and although I haven’t reversed the effects of entropy altogether, I still can play at nearly my college-day level and I’m having even more fun doing so. The reason for my continued ability is plain and simple: a healthy diet, plenty of spring water and Progressive Power Yoga. These are the 3 elements of my life that I have continuously maintained. While I won’t elaborate on diet or the benefits of healthy hydration much more, I feel compelled to do so when it comes to PPY.

Progressive Power Yoga is the most complete and safe way to maintain muscle tone, elasticity and most importantly, strong organs and bones…period. Everyone knows how important it is to exercise as we get older. What most don’t know is how to properly implement this into their daily lives. As athletes, this becomes even more important because we’re asking our bodies to perform at an optimum level. In order to do so we must be strong, flexible, lean and know how to breathe in order to maintain this. Progressive Power Yoga focuses on all these elements equally.

Oddly enough, when an athlete comes to me and says he needs to be more flexible, I tell him: “That may be true, but first you must become truly strong.” Inevitably he looks at me and my wiry frame and says boldly, “No, I’m strong, it’s the flexibility I need to improve on.” “OK,” I say, “then let’s begin.” In less than 10 minutes they are all lying on the ground in a pool of sweat saying, “This is hard.” I smile and say, “It’s easy once you’re truly strong.” Strength comes from balance, and Progressive Power Yoga creates balance.

The balance of Body, Spirit (breath), and Mind. Muscles are not strong because they are big, muscles are strong because they react well under pressure and in order to do so they must be both flexible and strong as well as fully supported with oxygen. If any part of this is missing they will be either brittle (causing injuries) or fatigued. Our bodies and minds can only function if supplied with both O2 and glucose. More than a few minutes without either and we have cellular damage, and then within a few more cease to exist. Progressive Power Yoga is built on these scientific facts. In order for this metabolic exchange to take place, you must when exercising learn how to breathe and support your body as you do.

A side note: Know in your heart that exercise should be fun as well, so it encourages you to continue the practice of it. It’s time all you athletes out there get Progressive Power Yoga into your worlds. It’s time to truly be the best you can be!

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