Yoga becoming popular among athletes, faculty

By Ian Beck ’12

Photo by Adam Triplett ’10 The baseball team stretches during one of their yoga practices in November.
Photo by Adam Triplett ’10 The baseball team stretches during one of their yoga practices in November.

Phrases like “Downward Facing Dog” and “Warrior I” may sound like football plays or perhaps the names of new bands, but they are really poses in an exercise program that has swept the nation, and even Brophy’s campus, in the last several years.

Some faculty and staff members have been practicing yoga twice a week after school for the last four years as part of a teacher wellness program. Teachers, who receive health insurance from the school, also receive some things such as the availability of yoga on campus for a reduced cost.

Mr. John Damaso ’97 coordinates the program, taking attendance as well as organizing schedules with the instructor, Ms. Jan Hudson.

“(Brophy) can be a place of business and tension for me,” Mr. Damaso said, “it’s great to be with other faculty, relieving some of that tension.”

But it is not just healthy-minded faculty members using yoga—sports teams have found it improves players’ abilities and conditioning.

“It helps them with their athleticism in general and most specifically with strength training … flexibility, agility and balance, just like San Diego kickboxing routine” said Mr. Tom Succow, head varsity baseball coach.

The baseball team practices yoga twice a week during the fall and once a week during the season along with their weight training and conditioning practices. The team has been using yoga for five years.

Yoga has been implemented in high school, college and professional baseball as teams realize the benefits of balance and flexibility that yoga provides.

“(It’s) absolutely amazing with stress relief… the postures help to keep the mind activated so your mind has something to focus on other than your thoughts,” Ms. Hudson said.

Yoga has been used for more than 5,000 years and there are more than 900 postures and positions.

Stacks of health studies have found a multitude of benefits from yoga, namely stress release, and major medical centers such as Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles started offering yoga to their patients more than a decade ago.

According to information compiled by the National Yoga Month Awareness Campaign, yoga can help relieve muscle tension, counter depression, reduce risks for heart disease, lower blood pressure and ease chronic back pain.

It can also just be relaxing.

“It is relaxing and helps on the days after weight training,” said Jasper Liu ’12, a baseball player who has used yoga for two years now.

“We enjoy it; it’s a welcome addition to practicing every day,” Liu added.