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In WA, Yoga is Not Too Wussy for High School OR Football

in YD News, Yoga Heroes, Yoga in Sports

Now here’s something to cheer about!


By now we’ve heard lots of great news about pro sports teams adding yoga to their training regimens (LA Dodgers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Ireland’s Connacht Rugby team) and how some stars like Lebron James are inspiring kids by bringing yoga to schools. Elementary aged kids are even getting yoga in the classroom! But not quite as often do we hear about the most fickle, image conscious and discerning bunch of that youthful set  – teenagers! Particularly, teenagers who play sports. Not much is more competitive than high school athletics, and we all know it’s not just on the field of course.

There was a time when we considered “adolescence” a bad word (it could have been some time around when our feet grew really big before the rest of our body or when we had to start worrying about “exfoliants” and micro-scrubbing our pores. ugh). But now, since we are so mature, heh, we can see the beauty and opportunity in those golden years of roller coaster growth and mood swings. And believe it or not all of this leads us to the actual news…

This summer the football playing lads at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, WA got a surprise addition to their preseason fitness training: a yoga course! 2 times a week for 5 weeks! Almost makes you wish you were a high school footballer huh? We know.

Why yoga? Primarily for flexibility, strength and prevention of injury – something we’ve come to call “prehabilitation“.

Local yoga teach, Tami Turnbull, has designed a specialized yoga program for these strapping young athletes, and football coach Ross Filkins is all for it! Even so, Ms. Turnbull has got some guts stepping into a room full of sweaty weightlifting dudes most of which had never practiced yoga before, let alone had ever entertained the thought of attempting it. But maybe we underestimate these fellows:

Says sophomore linebacker Trevor Ryan, who also plays center,

“It’ll definitely help with flexibility and to avoid injury. If you got hit wrong, that little extra could help to make or break you.”

It may have taken a while, but they finally figured out that pumping heavy objects does not help in this dept.

As Teach Turnbull puts it:

“It’s a toning thing and makes you a little more mindful so you’re more mindful of what you put in your body.”

Because goodness knows those growing kids are like vacuums with special settings for junk food, and hate to say it, but also beer and whatever other experimental substances are in the general vicinity. (sorry parents, cat’s outta the bag).  The high school years really are a formative time. So three cheers for PHS, Teach Turnbull (we figure that’s what HS football kids would call her), and the players who are willing to set aside any preconceived notions of yoga and accept mindfulness as a happy side effect. Seriously, GO TEAM!

And you thought yoga going mainstream was all bad.

We don’t play football, but barreling down the streets of NY can be pretty comparable sometimes! Yoga has certainly helped limber us up for the ‘ol block and dodge. Sometimes tackle. jk. sorta.


5 comments… add one
  • Definitely great news. I just wonder if perhapsYoga Journal might help de-wussify yoga’s image by portraying yoga as something that’s practiced by men (some of whom are neither senior citizens from India nor guys in blue spandex who go to yoga class to pick–or feel–up chicks) as well as women….

  • Loved the article as I’ve been promoting and teaching the same for years. The teens love it and its always fun to challenge these jocks with a nice slow Chataranga or Warrior II holding for 8 breaths. Now just to get more coaches on board. You can check out my site for ideas and suggestions for how to bring yoga for kids and teens into schools.

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