Assistant Online Editor
The greatest athletes in the world are always looking for the next great thing to take them to the next level. Decades ago it was weightlifting that revolutionized sports, but after a while it was mimicked and now seemingly everyone lifts weights. The next “thing” that athletes did to get an edge was mental training because they realized that no matter how powerful a machine was it was useless without the handbook. Now yoga has seemed to become a trending activity for athletes, as it aims to simultaneously enhance both the body and mind. In fact, the word yoga came about as a derivation from the word “yoking together”.
Springfield College is known as an athletic school due to its rich history, but has kept the reputation because of the top-notch athletes that the institution breeds. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Springfield College’s Campus Recreation put on a special yoga class for athletes on Nov. 5 in the Wellness Center. Although it was entitled Yoga for Athletes, everyone was invited.
“Mental training is something that you know you should do but you only do it when you have time,” said Springfield College junior Dan Green. “Yoga really makes a difference, and I think it will show in the spring.” Green is a pitcher for the Pride baseball team.
Throughout the 45-minute session, athletes were led through a series of exercises that improved flexibility and range of motion, built strength and balance, corrected muscle imbalance, and relieved stress and anxiety. Not only were those present instructed on how to do certain stretches but whether to do them before or after practices and games. The overall hope is that the exercises will improve ability while preventing injury.
Something that differentiates yoga from other forms of sport training is the emphasis on breathing techniques. Breathing is so second nature for hominids that the importance of it is often neglected. It is highly encouraged to inhale and exhale through the nose. In an attempt make the entire body tantamount, breathing has become of one of the most fundamental principles of yoga.
“Struggling is inevitable in any sport,” Green explains. “Sometimes when I’m on the mound struggling I just step back, take a deep breath, and focus on my breathing for a few seconds. It really makes a tremendous difference and can be the difference between a win and a loss.”