Today, I had another opportunity to fulfill one of my passions: teach yoga. I’ve been working with athletes, specifically, for a few years now. What is it I love the most about working with athletes as a special population and using yoga as a therapy to help them heal and strengthen their bodies? Simple. It’s watching the practice transform them into more mindful, conscious movers and thinkers.
The practice of yoga has several benefits for athletes. But aside from the enhanced body awareness, mobility, breath work, strength and relaxation, most first-time yogi athletes, don’t care for or understand the benefits of meditation. Little by little, as their comfort level rises, I begin to incorporate sprinkles of meditation techniques at the end of our practice. And as soon as we find a method that clicks for them, they instantly fall in love. They start asking me for it. “Can we meditate now?” Watching them evolve and incorporate mindfulness techniques into their offseason, pre-game, post-game, and even hearing about how they notice their focus and mental clarity improve during stressful game moments, is amazing.
Bridging the gap between a 3500-year-old practice and modern-day sports, creating and cultivating the connection between mind and body, energy and mass, is what I love the most.
Working one-on-one is where I feel the most progress and benefits can be made, and that’s normally how I work. But this week I received the opportunity from my good friend, Jennifer Pansa, to assist with a team yoga class for the Phoenix Suns. It’s incredible to see team managers and coaches beginning to incorporate yoga into their in-season training, as most of the MLB, NBA & NFL players I work with seek yoga on their own. Their teams simply don’t provide it. It was just another moment for me to give the gift of yoga, a modality that’s rooted in liberating mind and body.
Giving the gift of yoga and watching people light up. Watching people evolve. Watching them grow. THAT’S what I love the most.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey