Bikram Yoga for NBA & NFL Pros

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We’ve given examples of high-profile athletes who swear by yoga … well, here are three more to add to the list! NBA All-Star Joe Johnson and NFL Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson and wide receiver Torrey Smith all credit the ancient practice with helping to improve their game.

Joe Johnson Brooklyn Nets - Yoga for AthletesJoe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

This shooting guard/small forward is said to practise Bikram Yoga on game days – sometimes just a few hours prior to tip-off time – in order to refresh and rejuvenate both body and mind.

“It’s pretty strenuous as far as a workout,” Johnson recently told the Huffington Post. “It loosens me up, actually. If we have to be at the gym at 5:30, I’ll go about 3 and I get out at 4:30. I go straight to the arena. I’ll already be loose and ready to go. It’s very relaxing.”

As it turns out, meditation – a new experience for Johnson – is an added bonus of the practice.

“I’ve never meditated before, or anything of that nature, but when I started doing Bikram, it just kind of goes with [it],” he said. “I found myself meditating and really relaxing and clearing my thoughts.”

Steven Jackson Atlanta Falcons - Yoga for Althletes

Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons

Practising yoga once a week, this NFL running back, who happens to be the league’s active rushing leader, hopes that stretching will extend his football career.

“It keep the limbs limber; it’s a form of mediation, too. I feel good when I stretch, especially after travelling so much,” he said in an interview.

With the average NFL career estimated to last just three to six years, Jackson is doing well so far. He has missed only two games over the past four seasons and only 13 in his entire career.

Torrey Smith Baltimore Ravens - Yoga for AlthletesTorrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens

Although Smith first turned to yoga for such physical benefits as improved flexibility, but the NFL wide receiver found himself embracing its mental benefits, too.

“Yoga is hard; it is some kind of workout,” said Smith, who practises two to three times a week. “It’s helped a lot. I’ve definitely benefitted from the mental aspect of it.”

 

Mind-Body Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Yoga, considered a mind-body activity, has many athletic benefits, including:

  • Stress reduction
  • Reduced anxiety/depression
  • Less pain
  • Improved self-esteem/self-efficacy
  • Elevated mood
  • Enhanced personal control
  • Increased strength, balance, co-ordination
  • Heightened body awareness
  • More focus

Has Bikram Yoga helped you in any athletic pursuits? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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