Take me out to the ball game. But first! Yoga practice, boys. Line ‘em up.
Before all the swing batta battas and peanuts and crackerjacks, the Oakland A’s do their pre-season yoga practice. Even manager Bob Melvin joins in as evidenced by this short video clip (Bob is somewhere in the second row). Yoga in sports is growing in popularity and we have pro athletes like NFL’s Brian Jennings, US Womens Soccer Alex Morgan and NBA’s Kevin Garnett talking it up. In baseball,
pitchers players like Russell Martin of the LA Dodgers, Yankees Pittsburgh Pirates have found yoga to be a therapeutic, stretching and centering supplement to their normal conditioning. For the A’s, daily yoga helps with breathing, flexibility and injury prevention. And to spice things up.
“It’s baseball-specific and not just like going to a normal class,” said Mike Henriques, the A’s strength and conditioning coach. The classes are taught by Katherine Roberts (also known for her Yoga for Golfers venture) who helps teach yoga to the Dodgers and Padres as well.
“It’s a different option, instead of them listening to me all day,” Henriques joked. “It’s nice to get someone else out there to take them through some range of motion stuff and switch things up instead of doing the same things over and over again.”
Yeah, no need for that boring repetitive stuff like swinging a bat and running around the same bases for hours. Oh, we kid America’s pastime.
A’s pitcher Dan Straily is feeling the difference.
“It’s just more of a deeper stretch,” Straily said. “It’s nice to kind of break up the routine, because when you’re doing the same stretches every day, it becomes old really quick and you find yourself not really paying attention to it. Yoga can’t hurt, that’s for sure. Just another way to get loose for the day.”
But Straily didn’t need much convincing. He happens to live right above a yoga studio in Eugene, Ore. and is a regular student during the early offseason. Once the regular season begins, their teacher Katherine will stay home in Arizona so the A’s team won’t be gathered for daily yoga sessions. Instead she’s given them a DVD that includes three different yoga sequences that “accommodate pregame, workout and relaxing needs.”
“They’ll be on everyone’s iPads,” Henriques said.
Keep an eye out for eagle arms on the pitcher’s mound. We can almost see a little dancer’s pose there, Dan.