More mainstream yoga: Pro baseball team emphasizes flexibility

The latest set of pro athletes to publicly incorporate yoga into their training is baseball’s Oakland As. The San Jose Mercury News checked in on this not-so-surprising-anymore development:

When the A’s break camp on Wednesday, each player will be making room in his carry-on bag for a DVD.

It won’t be a memento of the Cactus League. The DVD will be a baseball-specific program of yoga stretches put together by Phoenix-based yoga instructor Katherine Roberts.

“It’s not your mom’s yoga,” said Roberts, who is in her third spring training leading the A’s in yoga stretches.

It’s not typical for baseball teams to go in heavily for yoga, Roberts said, although some players do it on their own. But a handful of teams have incorporated yoga into their pregame stretching program, and many of the A’s players swear by it.

“Yoga is awesome,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “And the way Katherine helps us use it is great. As a catcher, I have to squat and get into all kinds of compromising positions during a game. With yoga, it’s easier for me to get loose and to stay flexible. I tried it a little three years ago when I was with Tampa Bay, but after doing it here, it’s something I do all the time.”

Not that the full yoga message is getting through, though: “Even manager Bob Melvin is a fan. He was an active participant last year, and “I would be out there now,” he said, but for his ongoing back pain.”

Umm… that’s when you want to do yoga, Bob. Anyway, there isn’t necessarily a spiritual side to this particular brand of yoga:

Roberts said that the spirituality normally connected with yoga practitioners can be incorporated by the players if they want it, but that’s not the goal.

“It’s not about the lotus position and mats with these guys,” she said. “But yoga does help baseball players, and these guys know what helps makes them better players.”

Just so you don’t think that yoga has gone totally corporate/soft/straight, the Daily Mail reports on a co-ed naked yoga class:

The class, introduced the Bold & Naked studio in Chelsea, is supposed to provide students with a new way to focus on celebrating their bodies and is not intended to be sexually evocative.

‘There are a lot of things that separate us in a normal yoga class, like what brand of yoga clothing you’re wearing or how you look when you’re wearing it,’ Vanessa Kennedy, a naked yoga class attendee, told Reuters. ‘But when we’re naked, it’s like we’re all the same.’

My favorite line from the piece is this: “Naked yoga has become increasingly popular in the United States since the 1960s, when it was a component in the hippie movement.” I wonder what the definition of “increasingly” is.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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