Althletes gain strength, flexibility with yoga

By Alex Edel

During most sports practices, athletes can be found running around the track, scrimmaging, or doing drills. However, there are some athletes training through the warrior pose or the downward dog.

Yoga is sometimes seen as a way for people who do not compete in sports to get some exercise, but some athletes use yoga as a supplemental activity in order to become more flexible and have more core strength.

“I appreciate both yoga and Pilates in regards to cross training, core strength gain, stretching and body awareness,” Head Swim Coach Darlene Bible said.

Under Head Coach Mark Haddad, last year’s lacrosse team had morning yoga sessions before school to supplement their other training.

“It was good for team building and it helped us physically as well,” Jake Lasker ’10 said.

Lasker felt that mandatory weight training would have been much more helpful for the team. However, he felt that yoga really helped with team bonding.

“Bonding with the team early in the morning really helped us grow together as a team because of the common experience,” Lasker said.

Allison Merz ’10 feels that yoga has a more beneficial role in training for sports.

“Yoga has helped a lot with my flexibility, which has definitely made a difference in my swimming. It has also helped with my bad posture, which was actually contributing to an injury I had, so it’s great for that reason as well,” Merz said.

After suffering a shoulder injury, Merz started doing yoga in order to strengthen the muscles in her shoulder and back. This helped her to prevent further injury and helped her shoulder heal.

“Yoga isn’t really considered to be important in a lot of sports, but I think it’s a great way to gain both flexibility and strength,” Merz said. “A lot of the stretches are really nice they are relaxing and they make you feel great. A lot of the positions they have are way harder than you would think. I get really sore after yoga.”

Bryce Tobias ’10 also occasionally does yoga, which he says helps with his water polo.

“It helps with my flexibility which is always good,” Tobias said.

The school does offer a yoga class taught by Amy Bird, and is offered as an alternative to P.E.

“Ms. Bird was my instructor for the two semesters I had and she was amazing,” Jackie Jasuta ’10 said. “She helped us get into tough positions and readjusted us if we weren’t correct, but is she also just an amazing confidant and friend. She was always whatever I needed her to be.”

Jasuta took the class for two semesters last year and says that it did help with her swimming.

“In yoga we focused a lot on breathing, controlling breathing, different ways to breathe, just laying down and breathing,” Jasuta said. “That may have helped me get into the water since I had previously just done land sports and never really had to think about when to breathe. But because I had learned to control my breathing, swimming may have been easier than it would have been otherwise.”

The class was mainly stretching and working on positions which correctly align the body Jasuta said. Although a lot of the poses were just stretching, there were some harder poses like a headstand.

“Some things are harder than others, but the harder things are often really rewarding,” Jasuta said.

Although she feels that yoga helped her with swimming, she feels that weight training is still a better supplement to training.

“Perhaps every once in a while yoga is good, like we do during spring break, but I don’t think it is so beneficial as to make it as regular as weight training,” she said.