3 Reasons Why Yoga Makes You A Better Football Player

3 Reasons Why Yoga Makes You A Better Football Player

California 5th - 8th Graders Sign-Up For Football Camp Here

The Tennessee Titans veteran Wesley Woodyard said he thought that every linebacker could benefit from yoga.

That doesn’t seem that intuitive, given that one of the fundamentals of football is to use brute force, be very aggressive and to never back down.

Yet yoga has made noteworthy advances in the N.F.L., and Woodyard is one of a few players who are practicing yoga to help them physically and mentally plan for and manage the sport's brutal bodily demands.

"When you play linebacker and your only job is to tackle people, you are likely to have several misaligned bones in your back and rib range, which can cause back pain," said Woodyard, an eight-year veteran.

Woodyard said he worked with a product called the Dharma Yoga Wheel "to open up my back and heart zone."

He called the wheel "my new closest companion."

Hamstring issues have tormented many players during the preseason, and Colts safety Mike Adams, entering his twelfth season, said that the stretching from yoga was especially useful for his hamstrings and hips. His workout regimen incorporates night sessions three times each week with the wheel, moving it on his back and legs.

"Yoga has had enormous influence in my life and profession, because it works my mind and body," Adams said, including that he had recommended it to his younger fellow team members.

Adams, 34, said he was introduced to yoga and the wheel by his instructor, Carmella Rackham, who owns Brazil Yoga and has 13 N.F.L. players among the 17 athletes whom she trains privately.

Defensive back Adam Jones of the Bengals was her first N.F.L. customer. At the start, Rackham said she had no expectation of working with athletes, however Jones started recommending her to different athletes. Inside of six months, Rackham said, she had a bigger number of customers than she could deal with.

Other students include Adams' Indianapolis fellow team member D'Qwell Jackson, a linebacker. Rackham regularly goes to her customer's city and burns through three to four days there conducting private yoga sessions.

Other players practicing yoga regularly include the All-Pro protective tackle Ndamukong Suh, now with the Dolphins; Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo; Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart; and Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Rackham starts every workout with the wheel, which was designed by the universal instructor Yogi Varuna, alongside another instructor, Raquel Vamos.

California 5th - 8th Graders Sign-Up For Football Camp Here

"Traditional class begins with breathing and warm-up," Rackham said. "However, I let them roll out the wheel; they more often than not are coming from a hard practice, so it will unwind the body, offer them some assistance with feeling calm and relaxed. At that point we go into breathing; I stress breathing with the folks — it helps them on the field and to resist the urge to panic in a stressful situation.

“We do some flow sequences, some yoga poses. Depends on how a guy feels that day, depends on how practices have gone.”

Asked how the wheel most particularly aided him, Adams said: “It specifically helped with the arch in my back and when rolling out on the wheel.”

Rackham additionally stressed the mental part of yoga for her customers — and its capacity to heal mentally and emotionally.

"I tell everyone: These folks' lives are totally not the same as our lives; we don't comprehend what it is like to be them everyday," she said. "They come into our sessions with the stress of it. I can see it on their faces at any session, the tiredness.

"Be that as it may, when they inhale and do a tiny bit of yoga, there is something that vanishes, and a calm that falls off of them. The mental health of yoga is by a long shot the greatest part for an athlete. It gives a Zen calmness their sport doesn’t teach them.

Interested in adding yoga to your training routine?  See below a couple of great yoga workouts for football players...

Try the Best Football Workouts Program