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Yoga not just for girls: NFL players benefit from yoga
Do you have the old mindset that yoga is something that only women or weak men practice?
I've heard more than a few men state they believe that yoga is just for girls, but there are plenty of tough athletes, including football players, who have discovered the benefits of yoga.
I can't imagine any football player perceived to be weak or girlish. OK, maybe there are a few quarterbacks who have rightly earned that title, but we won't go there.
Kevin Boss(notes) is a tight end for the Oakland Raiders, and at 6 foot 6 inches 255 pounds, he is anything but delicate. When Boss played for the New York Giants, he helped lead the team to victory in Super Bowl XLII. And the exceptional athlete attributes yoga as one of the reasons for his success in the NFL.
Boss started practicing yoga when an instructor came to the Giants' stadium after team meetings. He found that he enjoyed it so much, he started performing yoga every night at home, and he has stuck with it ever since.
Another famed NFL player that practices yoga is the Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu. He is a safety who helped lead the team to two Super Bowls and was given the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award in 2010, in addition to being named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.
Polamalu doesn't believe in lifting weights and has practiced yoga for many years. On the field, he appears calm, yet he also plays very intensely.
Flexibility is the key that far too many people are missing, and athletes, in particular, can benefit from becoming more flexible and increasing their range of motion. It can add to the improvement of the athlete's game and will markedly decrease the risk of injury.
Tony Parrish, a former San Francisco 49ers safety, used yoga to build his core strength. Your body uses its core for every activity, and an athlete who strengthens his core will be able to run faster and have a quicker reaction. When Parrish broke his ankle and fibula in a game, he used yoga to regain his strength and trust in his leg.
Nearly everyone can benefit from practicing yoga. It helps to improve mental focus, relieves chronic pain, improves balance and flexibility, and strengthens your body's core. If NFL players aren't afraid of comprising their manliness by promoting this great activity, it's time the old mindset changes to a new one.
K.C. Dermody has been an avid runner and yoga enthusiast for twenty years, and as a trained yoga instructor she taught a variety of students from senior citizens to competitive athletes. She enjoys combining her passion for sports, emotional and physical well-being with her love of writing.
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