Yoga for Pro Baseball Players
Many players from the Texas Rangers are turning to yoga for its numerous benefits. During spring training, a yoga instructor comes in twice a week and puts together mini, modified yoga sessions that players can practice regularly.
The instructor traditionally teaches ashtanga with less emphasis on vinyasa and chaturanga, which focuses heavily on the shoulders. Instead, the sessions are geared on poses, or asanas, to stretch, open and strengthen the hips and thoracic spine. The players are also exposed to breathing techniques, or pranayama. Strength and Conditioning Coach Jose Vazquez notes that this helps players control the breath, which they can then utilize to calm themselves during key moments of the game to think clearly and move strategically.
Other daily fitness practices vary, depending on the position of the player and the schedule. The pitching rotation, for example, will determine a hurler’s weekly routine, which may be very different than a fi elder’s. Workouts may involve weight training, core work, stretching, and/or cardio. There is also a massage therapist and chiropractor on staff that assists players throughout the season.
The team has been implementing yoga for three years, and Vazquez has found it to be a valuable tool. “My personal experience and philosophy of yoga is that it is a good supplement to baseball, not only in that it helps the players to be flexible, but more in tune with their bodies as well,” he says. “It allows for efficient movement, and body and breath coordination, which is a very important aspect of the sport.”