Pro Athletes Are Turning To Yoga

If I told you Barry Zito did yoga, odds are you wouldn’t be too shocked. You could pick out most interviews with the pitcher and put it together like “Yeah, I can see that.” Not to say the former Cy Young winner isn’t an athlete, but it’d be a stretch to call him a jock. On the other hand, you would most likely be very surprised to hear a slugger such as Giancarlo Stanton utilizes yoga in his workout routines or USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones regularly incorporates yoga to focus him.

Gaiam, likely the largest yoga focused company in the United States, recently announced both Stanton and Jones as stars of video series aptly named Yoga for Power with Giancarlo Stanton and Yoga for Conditioning with Jermaine Jones. Now available either traditionally via DVD or digitally online (but not through their GaiamTV streaming service just yet) the videos are designed to improve various aspects of one’s game. Where the ties between football and another non-traditional athletic event in ballet are quite established, recent years has seen yoga take off in baseball circles. A number of MLB teams have turned to yoga for various needs including strength, balance, conditioning and focus, and perhaps this latest wave of videos will shed further light on the subject.

Stanton, while speaking on yoga and his videos noted

Yoga has become an integral part of my training regimen. It strengthens my body and mind and pushes me to be more in tune with myself not only physically, but mentally as well. I truly feel that yoga has been a key component in developing a solid foundation on which I can continue to build a healthy athletic career while benefiting my life as a whole.

From casual workouts to more focused goals, yoga has certainly gained traction as a workout option in the United States. Via Statista, the revenue of the Gaiam specifically and yoga and pilates industry in general has been on a sharp rise since 2007 and projects to continue to do so.

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As the stigma surrounding alternative workout routines drops, potentially more professional athletes will step forward and embrace what yoga offers on both the physical and mental fronts. The mental side of sports while tough to quantify, shouldn’t be overlooked. As Yogi Berra famously once said: “Baseball is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical.”

(Header image via Gaiam)


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Anthony
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Anthony

Yoga is incredible. I train Jiu Jitsu, Yoga once a week helps keep my strength up, and revitalises me at the same time. My weeks aren’t the same without it.