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Super Yoga Bowl XLIX: Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots

in YD News

super-yoga-bowl-xlixLast time we checked in with the Seattle Seahawks they were making history winning Super Bowl XLVII. Before that they were talking about changing the future of football with yoga and meditation, again, making history, albeit of a different kind. Could it be true? Can Seattle pull off another victory for the second year in a row? OK, Patriot fans, we’re getting to you, too. It should be noted the New England Patriots are no strangers to the “Big Game,” and in fact, this would make it their fourth Super Bowl Championship if, IF they can beat the Seahawks and keep their balls intact (ahem. reference: #deflategate) So we’d say we’re in for a pretty good game as far as throwing and kicking and tackling goes.

Here’s the thing: each year we match up the Super Bowl teams, but we compare them based primarily on their yoga relations – whether players practice or not, if their coaches are supportive, if their team-branded yoga pants stand up to today’s fashion standards, etc. You know, the important stuff. So far the Patriots have an uphill battle ahead of them this year playing against THE yoga & meditation team of the NFL, but they’re not all together knocked off the yoga map, either.

Let’s break it down…blue 42, blue 42!

QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson vs. Tom Brady 

russell-wilson-tom-brady-super-bowl

Seahawks: Most of us remember the picture of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sitting cross-legged and zen-like. Well there’s also one of him in tree pose. (Apparently he did a bunch of his favorite yoga poses but those photos didn’t make the final cut.)

russell-wilson-yoga-tree-pose

photo by Peter Yang for ESPN The Magazine

A photo of a football player willingly doing yoga poses for the camera already says a lot, but Wilson also practices what he poses. “We do imagery work and talk about having that innovative mindset of being special,” Wilson said in the now-famous ESPN article. “We talk about being in the moment and increasing chaos throughout practice, so when I go into the game, everything is relaxed.”

Patriots: Tom Brady has been said to love Baptiste Power Yoga and was even quoted as saying the practice is ”great for flexibility, and it’s therapeutic.”

He also happens to be married to super yogi, Giselle Bündchen, and we have to wonder if her momma/baby yoga sessions have somehow rubbed off on him. Looks like it.

tom-brady-yoga-updog

 

KEY PLAYERS

PATRIOTS: Cornerback Brandon Browner Patriots, cornerback Darrelle Revis, left tackle Nate Solder, corner Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon. 

The Patriots do not offer nor do they require yoga to be part of the team’s routine, but there are several players who have sought it out on their own, like cornerback Brandon Browner who makes sure to fit in time for some vinyasa yoga.

“It keeps me loose,” Browner said. “It gives me balance and flexibility. It’s strength that I wouldn’t get from the weight room. I’m already a tight, stiff guy. I got knock-knees, and as I get older, my hips and my hip flexors and my IT-bands get tight. My psoas get tight. [Yoga] opens them up.”

Other players have joined in and added yoga as a part of their strength and conditioning training.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis likes to do Thai Yoga (the kind where you let your body go loose and have it manipulated into positions). Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga does hot yoga, while left tackle Nate Solder, corner Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon also practice yoga, especially in the offseason.

“Me and Logan incorporated Yoga into our workouts last year,” Harmon said. “We did hot yoga the whole offseason. It really helped with our flexibility, core strength, stuff like that. You could really see it. On the field when you play, when you’re working out, your level of flexibility increases. [It enhances] your balance, power off of one foot. It gives you more explosion. It really helps a lot with body control, too.”

And don’t forget Devin McCourty, another Patriots hot yogi who practices in the offseason.

Fun Fact: Former NFL quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi who was drafted ahead of Tom Brady is now a “yoga farmer.”

SEAHAWKS: The whole kit and kettle.

Photo by Rod Mar for ESPN The Magazine

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Coach Pete Carroll and the team at practice warm-up. | Photo by Rod Mar for ESPN The Magazine

Well, yoga is a mandatory activity in the Seahawks’ training regimen, so we don’t know if all of the players love it, but we know they do it, and we’re pretty sure a majority of them are not complaining.

Defensive tackle Landon Cohen prefers hot yoga and has been doing it for about five years: “You focus in so much that you don’t even really feel the heat. Nothing else matters. It’s just you and your mat,” said Cohen. He also says that yoga helps him translate that focus to the football field.

Defensive tackle Russell Okung has praised the power of meditation: “Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice. It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment,” said Okung.

COACHES 

Seahawks: Head Coach Pete Carroll along with Assistant Coach Gable are big supporters of the “stay positive” mantra and have encouraged (well, mandated) their players to practice yoga and meditation. They believe mindfulness and caring for every individual player will change the game.

“I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?” Carroll told ESPN.

Patriots: The only yoga relation is Yogi Berra’s advice to Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on the deflated ball situation: ”If you’re going to cheat, it’s better if you don’t get caught.” Not exactly from the Sutras but it’ll have to do.

YOGA PANTS

We thought at least this one would be a straight tie, but…could it be?? The Patriots have official yoga pants for sale and the Seahawks have naught?

patriots-yoga-pants

Good thing Etsy has it covered. Those Seahawks do have nice colors, don’t they?

seahawks-yoga-pants-etsy

Who will win the Super Bowl this year? We’re not betting yogadorks but if you asked us for the odds based on their yogi stats we’d have to lean towards the bird poses on this one, if you catch our drift. We’ll be keeping an eye out for meditative plays in between commercials, Katy Perry Pop and the Puppy Bowl.

Best of luck to all. Go teams!

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